The strange story of Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen's breakdown after his game "Flappy Bird" reached enormous success is still hard to grasp.
Why would a relatively anonymous 29-year-old indie game developer making an estimated $50,000 a day in advertising revenue shut down his game — and revenue stream?
According to Nguyen's Twitter account, the game's popularity created tremendous stress for him. He told Forbes' Lan Anh Nguyen that his creation had become an "addictive product" when it was supposed to relax users while they played. Furthermore, Nintendo accused Nguyen of copying the green pipes from the company's popular Mario Bros. games. The developer also reportedly received threats from techies accusing him of copying already-existing games, which could have caused him stress and eventual breakdown.
Perhaps most interestingly though, is that Nguyen, an under-the-radar developer, had a private meeting with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam right around the time he shut down the game. Sure, Nguyen is the first game developer to reach this level of success in Vietnam, but his meeting with Vu seemed to be completely focused on money.
According to VN Express, Vu encouraged Nguyen to continue developing games and not worry about his income taxes because the government is interested in offering exemptions for Nguyen. The announcement is meant to encourage other software and gaming developers to follow in Nguyen's footsteps.
But what's strange is that VN Express, a state-run online newspaper, also alluded to how simple it is for the Vietnamese government to track the money Nguyen actually made from his app, an indication that Nguyen may have never disclosed his exact earnings.
If we believe this theory, Nguyen's meeting with Vu wasn't so much an encouarging meeting for the developer, but was more a threat that Vietnam's communist government is investigating Nguyen's earnings from "Flappy Bird," which became the most popular app in both Apple and Android app stores.