Popcorn Time Is Dead

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Update: Two days after this article was published, another group of developers re-released Popcorn Time. The details are here.

Hollywood won. The open source project called Popcorn Time is dead after just four days. It’s not really surprising.

“Popcorn Time is shutting down today. Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives,” reads the website and a post on Medium.

Days after its quiet launch, word about the magical Popcorn Time program was everywhere. The program was an overnight success. “Popcorn Time got installed on every single country on Earth. Even the two that don’t have internet access,” reads the blog post. But success can be counterproductive. Ask Dong Nguyen, the man who created and then took down Flappy Bird.

The creators long stressed that Popcorn Time was legal. Yet I know from my own interactions with the developers that the constant questioning of the legality was taking a toll on them — a cost that they likely didn’t anticipate.

The Popcorn Time project as it previously existed is gone. The front-facing website bragging about its movie-streaming abilities is a simple blog post now. The link to download the installer is gone. Most of the files are gone from GitHub. This is the Internet, though. Nothing is ever completely gone.

The installer can still be found on several torrent sites and the open source nature of the project suggest that it’s not dead forever. This isn’t the end of Popcorn Time’s story. It can’t be. The roaring success of Popcorn Time shows that there is a pent-up demand for such an app. So don’t think of this as goodbye. Think of it as To Be Continued…