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(Pocket-lint) - When Nguyen Ha Dong announced his intention to remove hit free game Flappy Bird from the iTunes and Google Play app stores, not only did it cause a fuss, it also provoked a widespread rumour that Nintendo was the real culprit behind the move.

Nguyen claimed that he just couldn't take any more Twitter criticism and that was the real reason behind its removal, even confirming that his decision was not down to "legal issues". But that didn't stop speculation that, because of the game's graphical similarity to the 2D Mario games from Nintendo, he was actually sent a take down notice by the Japanese gaming giant.

That isn't true, says Nintendo. It didn't even speak to the developer. "We can confirm that Nintendo did not contact the creator of this game," a spokesman from Nintendo told Pocket-lint. "We also did not seek its removal from the marketplace."

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It seems therefore that the real reason for its removal is as Nguyen originally stated. He was simply fed up of the abuse he was getting over the simple, but frustratingly addictive game.

Either that or it was a cunning marketing ploy to get even more people to download it before its withdrawal. After all, it might no longer be on the app store, but the game is still generating massive amounts of revenue through advertising on phones and tablets that have it already installed.

UK betting firm Paddy Power is even taking bets on when the game might miraculously reappear on the app stores, with the second highest odds, at 5/2, being this month, less than a couple of weeks since its removal. Cynical eh?

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Writing by Rik Henderson. Originally published on 11 February 2014.