iPhone 5S with Flappy Bird game pre-installed has $99,900 bid on eBay

On Sunday, Vietnam-based developer Dong Nguyen, the creator of the popular game Flappy Bird, removed it from both the iOS App Store and Google Play. Now someone is using the fact that the game won't be available for download again as a way to make some quick cash.

We're not joking.

An eBay listing for an used 16GB iPhone 5S was posted soon after Nguyen removed Flappy Bird from circulation, even though the game had generated 50 million downloads and was making $50,000 a day in revenue via in-app ads. The Oregon-based eBay seller of the iPhone 5S claims to have Flappy Bird pre-installed on this used device.

The shocking thing is that people are not only bidding on the phone, but are apparently willing to spend lots of money to get a product with Flappy Bird. The seller had set a minimal bid of $650 for the phone and so far there have been 22 bidders. The highest bid, as of this writing, is for a unbelievable $99,900.

The seller offers no real proof that Flappy Bird is in fact installed on this iPhone. On the other hand, we also think it's highly unlikely that anyone will actually pay $99,900 for this eBay listing. The bidding is scheduled to end in six days.

More eBay listings for iPhone 5S models with Flappy Bird have also popped up, including one that has a high bid of $90,200. The game is also being sold pre-loaded on older models, like the iPhone 4 and even the iPhone 3GS. Other listings are selling the game itself, on iOS and Android, via sideloading or other methods. As always with any of these types of listings, many of them are bound to be fake so be extremely cautious before spending any money on these items.

Source: eBay via VG247.com | Image via eBay

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I had listed Flappy bird on a phone. Ebay deleted the as a TOC violation. Something about phones have to be rest to factory setting and copyright added games can not be sold. Also started clicking some of the other listings and those have been deleted. Looks like ebay is catching up with some of the sellers. Also the 99,900 auction appears to be deleted too. The sellers id was printed in the LA Time article and when you search his auctions, the flappy bird phone is not listed anymore nor is it in his completed/sold auctions.

Let me guess.. this is because Flappy Birds is tied to your iTunes account, and thus cannot be sold to anyone unless you xfer the associated iTunes account to the new owner? It makes partial sense, but I was not sure eBay tracked copyright that well. I am not even sure its illegal, because you can certianly resell games, and software, even if its copyrighted. The issue is whether or not its pirated or an illegal copy...

It sounds original to me so I don't understand the issue..

Whats also interesting is.. if Flappy Birds is no longer sold or available legitimately, whats the deal with pirating it or breaking copyright on it? There are exceptions for old software to enable it to continue to be ran and enjoyed, and archived..

nullie said,
There are exceptions for old software to enable it to continue to be ran and enjoyed
Perhaps for specific programs but I don't think there's been a general ruling that all abandonware is legal to distribute or download. Looks to be a gray area because nothing prevents the original copyright owner who still holds the rights to start selling it again.

The rules are pretty ****, yeah. I just know emulation is technically legal, so is breaking encryption and protections to run the software you're legally allowed to.

Archivals should always be allowed for so called abandonware.. but I think you have to have a copyright exception, like archive.org has.

Nevermind the fact that once the phone is formatted and someone logs in with their own Apple ID, the game won't be available anyway. iOS purchases are tied to Apple ID's, NOT devices. And if you're stupid enough to sell your device with your own Apple ID still signed into it, then man do you deserve what you've got coming your way!

it would be an LOL if someone actually bought this only to find that the iPhone was jailbroken and the app was cracked

Seeing as the game is tied to an apple account and not to a phone, the seller is basically selling his Apple ID + hardware?

Its technically illegal and a violation of eBay's terms of service to falsely bid on something without having intent to pay. So... I wonder why someone would fake-bid on something they couldn't pay?

No, it's absolutely NOT illegal, at all. It's against their terms of use sure, but all they can do there is terminate your account if you don't pay. There's nothing illegal about it at all, though.

I was thinking illegal by violating the ToS. Yeah you can back out, but eBay can terminate your account and or you get very negative feedback. The trouble is, fake bids waste peoples time and money, and you are probably even liable to get sued if it cost someone enough trouble. If only everyone had a lawyer, you'd see more suits brought over it if it got serious enough (oh yeah, it is illegal civilly, and might get you fraud changes criminally if you're running a big scam to defraud people, or something).

Look at this: a fake bid discourages a real bid, because the price is artificially high. Therefore you just cost the person a possible customer with your fake bid, and the real bidder since they never bid ends up lowering the actual sale amount since often times it drops to the lowest actual bidder.

The only way to fix this is either take your possible low bid from the first botched aution, or .. run it over hoping it doesn't get botched again.

Edited by nullie, Feb 10 2014, 8:12pm :

nullie said,
I was thinking illegal by violating the ToS. Yeah you can back out, but eBay can terminate your account and or you get very negative feedback. The trouble is, fake bids waste peoples time and money, and you are probably even liable to get sued if it cost someone enough trouble. If only everyone had a lawyer, you'd see more suits brought over it if it got serious enough (oh yeah, it is illegal civilly, and might get you fraud changes criminally if you're running a big scam to defraud people, or something).

Look at this: a fake bid discourages a real bid, because the price is artificially high. Therefore you just cost the person a possible customer with your fake bid, and the real bidder since they never bid ends up lowering the actual sale amount since often times it drops to the lowest actual bidder.

The only way to fix this is either take your possible low bid from the first botched aution, or .. run it over hoping it doesn't get botched again.


Pretty sure the buyer has the ability to cancel bids.

Not true. Bids are final. If you bid, you're entering a legally binding contract with the seller to buy it. At which point, seller owns your money and can sue for it in court (if you don't pay up).

http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/questions/retract-bid.html

Whoever bid $99,000.... That guy is entitled to it legally, and unless it was a mistake or the seller decides not to sue, .. he's going to pay it.

In the case of this particular eBay auction, it appears to have been pulled so it looks like either buyer or eBay took it down.

Edited by nullie, Feb 10 2014, 9:17pm :

Not true. Bids are finalized. If you bid, you're entering a contractor with the seller to buy it. He could probably sue you for the money if you back out, too.

http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/questions/retract-bid.html

Whoever bid $99,000.... I am telling you, if the guy doesn't get it, he can sue you for the money. And he will win. lol.


No he will not. All that will happen is eBay might suspend the account. Plus you don't have to give any information that get's verified to eBay so I can make up a whole bunch of crap and who will the seller sue? Mr. Nigerian Prince living in Transalvania?

Also the case will be thrown out of court pretty fast. For one the buyer has lost nothing except for time. He still has the item and eBay refunds the fee if the buyer didn't pay. It would be like a store suing a customer for returning an item because they wanted their money back for w/e reason. "oh but now I have to put it up for a sale again" doesn't work.

Edited by -Razorfold, Feb 10 2014, 9:36pm :

-Razorfold said,

No he will not. All that will happen is eBay might suspend the account. Plus you don't have to give any information that get's verified to eBay so I can make up a whole bunch of crap and who will the seller sue? Mr. Nigerian Prince living in Transalvania?

Also the case will be thrown out of court pretty fast. For one the buyer has lost nothing except for time. He still has the item and eBay refunds the fee if the buyer didn't pay. It would be like a store suing a customer for returning an item because they wanted their money back for w/e reason. "oh but now I have to put it up for a sale again" doesn't work.

You're wrong. I actually edited my post. When you bid, it's a legally binding contract. Like you owe the money you just bid, if you win the auction. You cannot back out, period.

In court you will be found in breech of contract and the court can force you to pay the money, and put a lien / etc on you (forcing banks/other people to pay, or even taking your property and liquidating it).

Making up information in court won't work, either, because law enforcement can track you down. IP addresses, tracing it back to the person it came from. I think eBay does a lot of account verification, as well (verifying address through credit card, and PayPal account, among other methods). The court can subpoena your identity through IP address, ISP information, and law enforcement will conduct a thorough investigation.

Read my updated post. The seller has lost NOTHING except for his time, hence he would win NOTHING in court. There are no damages except for the time lost.

think eBay does a lot of account verification, as well (verifying address through credit card, and PayPal account, among other methods). The court can subpoena your identity through IP address, ISP information, and law enforcement will conduct a thorough investigation.

You don't have to give a credit card to ebay when you sign up. And ebay also accepts international buyers. You think a seller in Beaverton Oregon is going to sue someone living in Australia for a $400 iPhone? No he won't and if he did he would get nothing out of it.

Small Claims Court
Can a defrauded eBay buyer take the matter to a local small claims court? Usually, the answer is no. (To learn more about small claims court, see Nolo's Small Claims Court area.)

Does the court have personal jurisdiction? The key question in eBay cases is whether the court has "personal jurisdiction" over the seller. If the seller is in the same state as the buyer or has sufficient "commercial contacts" with that state, the small claims court may have personal jurisdiction and the buyer can file the matter in that state's small claims court. (To learn more about personal jurisdiction, see Nolo's article Personal Jurisdiction: In Which Court Can I Sue the Defendant?)
However, in most eBay transactions, the seller and buyer are in different states and the seller has not done sufficient business in the buyer's state in order for the court to have personal jurisdiction over the seller.

Suing in the seller's home state. A buyer could solve the personal jurisdiction problem by filing a lawsuit in a small claims court in the seller's home state. The process of traveling to another state to file a claim, however, is often too expensive to merit the lawsuit. And even if the buyer wins a small claims court case, he or she may still have to force the seller to pay the judgment, a time-consuming process known as enforcing the judgment. (To learn more about enforcing judgments, see Nolo's article I Won My Case, Now Where's My Money?) Except in the case of high-value items, pursuing a small claims action over an eBay transaction is probably too cumbersome for most buyers and sellers.

nullie said,
I was thinking illegal by violating the ToS. Yeah you can back out, but eBay can terminate your account and or you get very negative feedback. The trouble is, fake bids waste peoples time and money, and you are probably even liable to get sued if it cost someone enough trouble. If only everyone had a lawyer, you'd see more suits brought over it if it got serious enough (oh yeah, it is illegal civilly, and might get you fraud changes criminally if you're running a big scam to defraud people, or something).

Look at this: a fake bid discourages a real bid, because the price is artificially high. Therefore you just cost the person a possible customer with your fake bid, and the real bidder since they never bid ends up lowering the actual sale amount since often times it drops to the lowest actual bidder.

The only way to fix this is either take your possible low bid from the first botched aution, or .. run it over hoping it doesn't get botched again.

You make quite valid points....

I sell on eBay, and this thought actually didn't really occur to me till i'm reading above, 'fake bids' and now you explain the problem better. That IS a problem

Usually, if the highest bidder does not pay (which 'does' happen, they get a ebay neg mark, + the neg mark from me, but thats about it I think) I just message the very last 'person' that bid in the hopes they would still want it at the last bid they made. This could reduce the amount you were going to get drastically sometimes, but as long as its still the profit you wanted to make, it sometimes works out this way. But not always, sometimes the 2nd and 3rd person that bid last don't even respond or want it anymore. But that's not usual.

Wrong man. It's a contract. You cannot back out of a contract. The loss is the value of money unpaid at that point.

What may make is hard to sue is only the bidders location, like the court system in place there. But I'm sure if eBay has a process in place in the particular country where the transaction took place, the contracts are valid there and you're liable and can be sued.

It's really up to the sellers resources and ability to actually go through with it. If they choose to, they could. There's nothing protecting the seller from entering into a contract when they agreed to it by bidding.

How would I sue someone from Beaverton Oregon in Australia by the way? By hiring an attorney in Australia do take on the case. lol..

Wrong man. It's a contract. You cannot back out of a contract. The loss is the value of money unpaid at that point.

Except that he still has the item so literally all he lost was his time. I'm pretty sure if people could collect money from unpaid bids a ton of people would have done it by now. But I highly doubt that has happened.

This isn't the first item that has had ridiculously fake bids and it won't be the last either. There was a purse a while back that had finished at bids of $3 million. Pretty sure nobody paid $3 million, and the seller never sued for anything.

I posted something from a law website that clearly says "usually the answer is no".

Link to it. And your defense will be in court that it wasn't a legally binding contract. . The judge or jury may or may not agree, it will all come down to what the law says.

So you are saying that i could go to a Christie's auction bidding a Picasso's only to in the end saying "i was here for the lolz, i'm not going to buy it"? Interesting.

Hi. Actually, lawsuits are permissible on eBay. Both seller and buyer are liable for what they list and purchase/bid on.

When an item is listed on eBay, the seller signs a contract saying they agree to sell the item. The seller is thus forced to sell the item if anyone wins the bid, otherwise seller can be sued for the item or difference in cost of buying the item elsewhere If the bid was cheaper on eBay.

Buyer is liable because they enter a legally binding contract to purchase and pay for the item within 4 days after submitting a bid, at the price they bid. If buyer refuses, they can be sued for the agreed amount.

eBay has a process for informally processing complaints and breaches of contract through the resolution center, but it is not required that people use it and people can still file lawsuits outside of eBay over the violations.

There are tons of discussions about this searchable with Google.

Hmm I have a Nokia 1020 with the stupid s**t still installed. Maybe I'll sell it and retire.

Actually the Flappy Bird on Windows Phone is still available and in fact it was not mentioned as being pulled on Sunday. Must be a copy.

Yes, the Flappy Bird game is a copy... First Windows Phone didn't have Flappy Bird, now we are the only one with Flappy Bird :-)

DLenaerts said,
First Windows Phone didn't have Flappy Bird, now we are the only one with Flappy Bird :-)
Take that, app gap!

tanjiajun_34 said,
What? For Android, just download the apk and install.
For iOS, I rather just jailbreak it and install it.

Can everyone and their grandma jailbreak? I dont have an iPhone, but back in the day when I tried JB my ipod touch (2nd gen), it was somewhat a pain, untethered/tethered and such.

People like simplicity and 'easibility'. Though 100k is still absolutely ridiculous...that's a house.

People are stupid.

1. The games model is one of the oldest since video gaming began
2. There are lots of similar games available
3. You can play flappy bird in your browser
4. THE GAME SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uplift said,
People are stupid.

1. The games model is one of the oldest since video gaming began
2. There are lots of similar games available
3. You can play flappy bird in your browser
4. THE GAME SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!

5. Jailbreak and sideload from any number of "reputable" crack sites?

Jose_49 said,
And you can install it if you have a jailbroken iPhone.

With the new amount of 'hype' that you can get the game already ON the phone, makes me think the jailbreaking/etc. might not be something everyone wants to do. If it was that easy, or basic, I think no one would pay 100k to be able to do it for free.

For the technical, yeah, jailbreaking is the smartest way instead of paying 100k lol. /ps. I do not have an iPhone so I am unaware exactly 'how' easy it is to JB'.

It is easy and even if it weren't nobody would pay 100k anyway (if they can't do it themselves then common sense would dictate they'd get some kid to do it for them instead of forking out 100k unless they're certifiably mad). Listing has been removed.

Can't you install an application from the device storage, like with android (after enabling installing from unknown sources in the security settings)? If yes, why not just download the game from the various sources out there on the Interweb and be done with it (still can't understand why the craze over this game)?