Flappy Bird clone wars: Apple and Google Strike Back


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Overnight gaming sensation Flappy Bird officially died after its creator pulled the game from iTunes and Google Play more than a week ago. Yet Flappy Bird rip-offs continue to live on—though perhaps for not for much longer.

Tired of their app stores filling up with flappy pigs, fish, drag queens, turds and—in a collision of memes—doges, Apple and Google are apparently saying no more. App developers intent on taking advantage of the flappy vacuum are complaining that both companies are now rejecting any would-be clones that include the word “flappy” in the title.

Vancouver-based game designer Ken Carpenter said on Twitter that Apple rejected his app Flappy Dragon, because it attempted to “leverage a popular app.” Apple’s app submission policies are supposed to prevent developers from cashing in on another app’s success.

Others on Twitter also said that Google was removing apps from Google Play with “Flappy” in the title.

Making a quick perusal of both app stores, it’s easy to see why Apple and Google would want to clamp down on the flappy phenomenon.

Google Play is especially filled with flappy rip-offs, probably owing to Google’s less rigorous submission policy. But Apple’s App Store has its fair share of flappily named clones too. Both stores currently have a flappy imitator occupying the top spot in their free games charts. For Apple it’s Splashy Fish (followed inclose second by City Bird - Flappy Flyer), while Clumsy Bird rules the Android roost.


iTunes doesn’t have as many flappy titles as Google Play, but the clones are still there. (Click to enlarge.)

While  the top clones don’t actually use the word flappy, there’s no shortage of flappy-titled knock-offs in either mobile app store. So it’s not clear what will happen to all the flappy imitators still available. As TechCrunch pointed out when it first reported the flappy fallout, the fair thing to do would be to force all apps to remove flappy from their title.

Apple and Google aren’t the only ones tired of the Flappy Bird flap. eBay is also clipping the wings for a number of flappy entrepreneurs trying to sell phones pre-loaded with the original game, according to MacRumors and CNET.

eBay’s rules require that any mobile devices for sale on the auction site must be restored to factory settings, which is impossible if it comes with Flappy Bird installed. eBay still has a long way to go if it wants to get rid of all the flappy gadgets from its site. At this writing, there was no shortage of smartphones for sale with Flappy Bird pre-loaded.

If you missed out on Flappy Bird, there are still lots of ways to get in on the frenzy with clones readily available. Our favorite remains Sesame Street’s web-based game, Flappy Bert.

This story, "Flappy Bird clone wars: Apple and Google Strike Back" was originally published by TechHive.

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