Nguyen Ha Dong, the Vietnamese developer behind the 2013 hit mobile game Flappy Bird, has said he will provide funds of up to VND200 million (US$8,900) each to student projects as a way of giving back to the community.
The 32-year-old Hanoi-based programmer, also known by his Twitter name as Dong Nguyen, has become an icon among Vietnamese youths since he created Flappy Bird, an addictive mobile game where players control a bird attempting to fly between rows of Mario-like green pipes without hitting them.
The game gained international popularity for its unique design, iconic music and insane level of difficulty, topping both App Store and Google Play charts six months after its release.
He then removed the game from both platforms, saying he did not want people to get so addicted to it.
In a Facebook status update on Monday afternoon, Dong said he was looking to “provide funding for projects of students in Vietnam or anywhere” at the beginning of 2017 as a way of “giving back to society.”
“Just propose projects to me, no matter how bad they are,” the status reads. “I will prioritize projects in these fields: Robotics, AI, Social, Community and Education.”
Dong added that students of all levels, including those pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees, were eligible for his private funding.
In another Facebook status posted one hour later, Dong called for youths to unite for the creation of better products and stressed that he was open for collaboration of all kinds in Vietnam.
Dong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that he had had the idea in mind for some time but it was not until this year that the circumstances had allowed him to carry it out.
The young developer plans to fund up to five projects each year, each receiving a maximum of VND200 million ($8,900) to buy equipment, materials and research documents required for implementation.
Proposals are to be sent to Dong’s work email at firstname.lastname@example.org and will be personally shortlisted by him at a later time.
“I hope worthy project developers will be found who will contribute to the country with their talent,” Dong said.
Nguyen Ha Dong was listed among ten Internet millionaires who made fortunes out of thin air by entertainment news site The Richest in December 2014.
The side-scrolling mobile game featuring 2D retro style graphics earned Dong approximately $3 million in profit in just 60 days, the website noted.
The game was released on May 24, 2013 but received a sudden rise in popularity in early 2014.
At the end of January 2014, it was the most downloaded free game on the iOS App Store. During this period, Dong claimed that Flappy Bird was earning $50,000 a day from in-app advertisements as well as sales.
Flappy Bird was taken down from both the App Store and Google Play by its creator on February 10, 2014, due to guilt over what he considered to be its addictive nature and overuse.