Flappy Bird may be gone, but the craze seems far from over. An eBay user is selling a used iPhone 5S with Flappy Bird installed for the starting price of $650. Within hours, the price has already jumped to $99,900, with 74 bids placed, says Mashable.
The eBay auction itself seems genuine, since the user selling the phone has been around on eBay for a while and has received 121 ratings, 96.3 percent of them positive, the typical measure of an eBay user’s authenticity.
Meanwhile, another seller is offering a 16GB white iPhone 5 from Sprint with Flappy Bird installed. Listed on Sunday, that handset has already received 65 bids from 19 different users, bringing it up to $90,200. That auction is slated to close at 8:43 p.m. ET Monday. Other sellers are currently offering Flappy Bird-equipped phones and tablets on eBay for anywhere between $300 to a few thousand dollars.
Remarkably, but iPhones with Flappy Bird pre-loaded seem to be fetching much higher prices than the equivalent Android devices like the HTC One. For example, this Sony Xperia Z with Flappy Bird has a Buy It Now price of $20,000 – more than the price of a freakin’ new car. Another seller offers a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Flappy Bird installed for a Buy It Now price of just $5,000 – and it comes with a bonus Galaxy Gear smartwatch included.
The crazy game was created by Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen in May, though it only recently rocketed to widespread popularity. Nguyen was reportedly raking in some $50,000 per day from advertising revenue from the free mobile game, which reached the top of the App Store charts and was downloaded millions of times.
Flappy Bird’s success has come as a pleasant surprise even to Nguyen himself. “I don’t know how my games can be so popular,” he told TechCrunch. “Most of my players are kids in schools.”
The essence of the games is pretty simple, as you just have to make the bird flap its wings by tapping the screen and navigate it through a series of gaps in pipes. Each time the bird flies through a pipe, the user scores a point. While it might sound easy, getting through even two or three pipes without the bird falling to the ground has proven too difficult for many infuriated users.
However, Nguyen tweeted this weekend that he would be removing the game amidst speculation that its ratings and popularity had been boosted through fake accounts or that the sudden and intense fame was simply too much for Nguyen to bear.
“I will take Flappy Bird down. I cannot take this anymore,” he wrote.
On Twitter he didn’t address the inflated downloads allegation but denied suggestions he was withdrawing the game because it breached another game maker’s copyright.
“It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore,” he wrote.
Dong’s other games – Super Ball Juggling and Shuriken Block – follow a similar pattern as Flappy Bird, with simple screen press mechanics winning the day.