The app sensation Flappy Bird was been removed from the iPhone and Android app stores by its developer over the weekend, but it is still available for those prepared to buy a smartphone or tablet with the game already installed.
Dozens of enterprising eBay sellers are piggybacking on the popularity of the game – and the news of its sudden withdrawal over the weekend – by selling phones pre-installed with the Flappy Bird game on Apple iPhones and Android smartphones.
Different sellers are offering mobile phones with Flappy Birds for between $300 to $5,000, mostly for white iPhone 5S.
While second-hand mobiles are usually sold with the data removed, canny sellers will have been able to wipe the phone and then install an existing copy of the game from their desktop computers. Promoting Flappy Bird as a selling point may be simply a way of shifting a phone they were selling already.
One auction, however, seems to be exploiting the popularity of the game to an extreme. One white iPhone 5 is being offered by ‘kristenater91’ started at $750 on Sunday and has now reached $90,000 after 62 bids by 18 different bidders.
It is not clear whether fraudulent bids have inflated the price, but the auction is due to end at 17.43 PST on Monday.
When on sale in the App Store, the Flappy Bird game was initially free, while the cost of a brand new white 16GB iPhone 5S is currently $649.
Some sellers have also listed unauthorised sales of the Flappy Bird game for Android, taking advantage of the demand for the app now that it is no longer available via Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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