Josh's Thoughts: Can "Flappy Bird" Provide Branding Issues for Nintendo?


If you've been anywhere near the Smartphone world in the past week, then you'll most likely have encountered a game taking the App Store by storm, Flappy Bird. This infuriating but addictive free-to-play smartphone title sees users controlling a small bird to navigate some pretty tight levels.

The game is certainly all well and good and at first sight it seems to be just another harmless bit of mobile fun. However, it's becoming pretty apparent that the title could provide Nintendo with some serious branding issues. Many of the sprites used within Flappy Bird are similar to the ones found within Mario titles, that many users could certainly face the idea that the game is infact branded or endorsed by Nintendo.

To you and I, this seems like a pretty doubtful prospect, but let's take a moment to think about the millions of App Store users who will stumble across Flappy Bird today. Having had limited experience with Nintendo and Mario titles in the past, Flappy Bird will provide some form of familiarization. Users are likely going to head down the route of thinking that the game is a "Mario spin-off", which could explain the large number of downloads Flappy Bird has received to date.

Furthermore, the game's surge in popularity comes just as discussion is rife about Nintendo's outings into the smartphone world. Infact, many users will most likely be lead to believe that this is Nintendo's venture into the world of smartphone gaming. When in actual fact, it couldn't be further from it.

So what's the problem? Well, Flappy Bird could soon become a branding nightmare for Nintendo. You've soon got a whole sector of the video games industry thinking that Flappy Bird is a Mario title, plus it's free. So why do they need to go about purchasing the next Mario game for Wii U and 3DS, when they can supposedly get it for free on the App Store?

You're probably asking what the similarities between Flappy Bird and you're average Mario game are. Well, spotted those familiar green pipes yet, or even the sprawling landscape? How about even those catchy sound effects that run in the background. It's all very Mario-esque isn't it?

At current, Nintendo don't appear to have made any form of comment about Flappy Bird, but it's almost inevitable that someone at the big N has noticed. We all know exactly how Nintendo are notorious for suing anyone who in anyway inflicts against their brand. So again, it's almost inevitable that Nintendo will be taking action and with Flappy Birds extremely increase in popularity recently, Nintendo certainly won't want to be taking any risks.

The coming weeks will show us exactly where Nintendo stand in terms of the Flappy Bird issue. Nintendo are known to take things like this pretty seriously in the past, so I'd be pretty surprised to see if Nintendo choose the route of taking no action at all. In the mean time, I'm off to play Flappy Bird!

I'm Josh and those are my thoughts, what are yours?  Let me know in the comment section...

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