Swing Copters arrives, business productivity plummets

The sequel to the smash-hit iOS game Flappy Bird just landed on the App Store and developer Dong Nguyen could have another viral sensation on his hands. But what does it mean for business?

Swing Copters arrives, business productivity plummets - Jason O'Grady
(Screenshots: Dong Nguyen)

If you're an IT professional responsible for Mobile Device Management (MDM) for a fleet of iOS devices, you might want to revisit your company's policy on games in the workplace. Swing Copters (free, $0.99 IAP, App Store) was just released by Dong Nguyen and it has the potential to become every bit the viral sensation that Flappy Bird was. 

Gamers will recall that Nguyen released Flappy Bird in May 2013 – where it quickly amassed over 50 million downloads – only to remove it from the App Store in February 2014 after Tweeting "I cannot take this anymore." During its short run Flappy Bird was bringing in upwards of $50,000 per day in advertising revenue. After it's removal, Flappy Bird inspired a wake of copycat games that attempted to fill the vacuum left by its removal. 

Swing Copters is a similar type of game. Flappy Bird scrolled right to left as the player attempted to fly a gravity-challenged bird through gaps in a series of Mario-like pipes. Swing Copters, on the other hand, challenges players to fly a wide-eyed character with a mushroom-like green propeller hat up through a series of steel girders (sound familiar?) that feature swinging hammers that inflict instant death. 

Like Flappy Bord before it, Swing Copters provides only one life and it takes a brutally long time to fly past the first level of girders. The prospect of a quick death is part of its appeal. The game is so insanely difficult (and quick) that you can't help playing again. And again. And again. 

The game is free with ads, or you can remove the ads with a $0.99 In-App Purchase. I immediately ponied up the buck to remove the annoying ad banner at the top of the screen. I suspect that most players will be sucked in by the free price and that more than a few will click on the ad banners, leading Nguyen to another possible payday.  

Mindless games clearly have no place on corporate iOS devices. Their addictive qualities (just one more game) and fast gameplay will surely cost lots of productivity in the workplace. But if Swing Copters is a stress reliever, how much harm could it cause? I'm not exactly sure (I haven't crested the first girder yet) but I'll report back in a day – or two.