Why Indie Developers Go Insane →

February 13, 2014 |

Jeff Vogel writes a great article on how hard success (and the subsequent fame it brings) can be on most indie developers:

It's just that indie developers tend to have high visibility, high stress, and small support groups. These factors mean that, when these devs break, you see it, and it's spectacular. Twitter has only helped to make self-immolation faster, easier, and more public.

I assume (I’ve never quite been in the position myself) that finding yourself in the spotlight all of a sudden must have an absolutely terrifying effect. We’re all hyper-aware of our own shortcomings, and these insecurities are greatly magnified by negative feedback, even if it’s without merit. It’s just how we’re wired. I can easily see how deeply disturbing it must be to be exposed to an overwhelming amount of negative and destructive criticism, especially if it’s the first time it happens to you.

Precisely this is what happened to Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen these past few weeks. He rose to fame thanks to a little game called Flappy Bird, which skyrocketed to the top of both the App Store and Google Play Store in a matter of days. However, along with the cash, this sudden increase in visibility brought him much unwanted attention and considerably harsh criticism, most of it unwarranted. It is no surprise that Nguyen finally gave in to the pressure and removed his game from the stores entirely:

Dong Nguyen quit. A fortune coming through the door, and he walked away. As I write this, Flappy Bird has been removed from app stores. Think about this. I mean you, personally. Think about what it would take to make you run from a gold mine like this. Really. Think about why someone would do this. This is not about money.

The Internet can be a cruel place sometimes. It doesn’t hurt to remind us every so often that behind all those pixels there’s always a human being.