This Week in Financial Blunders: Flappy Bird & Puerto Rico

Sometimes, seemingly opposite things just work together: chicken and waffles, Captain and Tennille, and hip-hop music and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart.” Well, now that they’re all listed together, the only one of those that works is chicken and waffles. In any case, sometimes opposites are drawn together by the thinnest of threads. This week in financial blunders, a smartphone game and a country’s economy are linked by their financial follies.

Advertising Revenue Is for the Birds

“Ughgh,” “Satan made it,” and “This game is ruining my life,” are a few choice reviews of the smartphone game that’s been the talk of the town this past week. Flappy Bird is a simple game where the player must tap the screen to make their bird flap between shifting pipes. It sounds simple, but its deceptively frustrating controls make the game a pain to play. So how did it get so popular? In a weird, collective masochism, people enjoyed the unrelenting challenge of the game and its fame rose rapidly – to the point where creator/developer Dong Nguyen was making $50,000 a day from advertising.

But then, like a band retiring at the height of fame, Nguyen announced via Twitter that he would be pulling the game:

“I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.”

“It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore.”

Many people wondered if Nguyen was taking it down because of pressure from Nintendo, as the pipes flappy bird flies through are blatantly ripped from early Mario games. It appears, however, that Nguyen wanted nothing to do with his overnight fame. He tweeted this explanation:

“I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.”

Nguyen says he’ll still make games for smartphones, but it sounds like he’s not looking to reach Flappy Bird levels of success anytime soon.

The -51st State

Puerto Rico has been suffering economically for more than half a decade, but a recent article by the BBC shows just how bad the situation is. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, governor of Puerto Rico, asked the island’s legislature for $3.5 billion to pay off its debts, with a hopeful approval announced by February 18. That’s only the start of it though; here are some raw (in terms of pain) numbers from the 51st state:

  • 93% – The amount of debt that is also the country’s gross domestic product.
  • 14.7% – The unemployment rate of the country (that’s two times the unemployment rate of the United States).
  • 8 – The number of consecutive years Puerto Rico’s economy has contracted.

To add insult to injury, Fitch Ratings, along with Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, has cut Puerto Rico’s debt states to junk. Translation: Two of the three big financial research and analysis groups in the country have deemed Puerto Rico’s economy to garbage. That’s just not the news you want to hear when your economy has been suffering for a long time already.

That’s all the financial blunders we have for you this week, but please comment below with stories we may have missed.

 

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