If you haven’t caught onto the Flappy Bird craze just yet, don’t worry, there’s still time. With people getting better and better at guiding that blasted bird through those pipes, social media continues to erupt with one score higher than the last. Now, for those of you who took notice, you will probably realize I said “pipes.” As a matter of fact, they are large green pipes displayed on a 2D canvas, and if you look close enough, you might even see a slightly overweight plumber come rising out of one.
Basically put, Nintendo has a history of aggressively defending their creative content, and Flappy Bird is in the danger zone. It’s understandable, considering the fact that Nintendo desperately relies on their major franchises. It’s no secret that players have actively tried to create player made Pokemon MMOs over the years only to get cease and desist orders in the near future.
Of course, many would argue that Flappy Bird is free, and therefore does not profit on what is clearly a likeness to Super Mario World. Unfortunately, this is the farthest thing from the truth. Flappy Bird reportedly makes over $50,000 a day in revenue from advertisements. Considering the fact that Flappy Bird is such a ridiculously simple game, the developers have certainly made their money’s worth.
There are others who will say that it shouldn’t matter– that Mario’s image does nothing to promote the app. This also isn’t true. Nearly everyone has experienced a Mario game to some degree and this familiarity undoubtedly attracts users whether they know it or not. As far as the likeness is concerned, Flappy Bird not only copies the art style and the pipes, but also emulates the jumping effect to some degree.
Whether or not Nintendo will sue remains to be seen, but there’s little reason to think they don’t have a chance to win should they do.
What do you guys think? Does Flappy Bird steal from Mario’s likeness? If so, does that image really contribute to the overall success of Flappy Bird? More importantly, do you think that Nintendo will sue in the end?