There is presently no official app for Wordle, the word-guessing puzzle game that has taken over our Twitter feeds. Those who have looked for it on the App Store may surprised to learn this, since as recently as today, doing so would resulted in a number of obviously fake apps with the same name and gameplay as the original, which developed by Josh Wardle and released for free on the web.
The vast majority of internet users have seen or heard of Wordle, if not played it themselves (The Guardian reports it has 2 million daily players). It’s a simple idea that works well: on the Wordle website, you may try to predict a five-letter word six times per day. It tells you which letters you gotten correctly, which letters in the word but not in the sequence you’ve chosen, and which letters even in the proper response. Black, green, and yellow square emojis have taken over some sections of Twitter as players use them to demonstrate their gaming without revealing the day’s secret phrase.
Wordle, like many other viral concepts
Wordle has the subject of countless humorous parodies, and the emoji block format that players use to submit their results has the subject of waves of jokes on Twitter. Although many spoof versions provide links back to the original, the App Store versions don’t seem to do so. Instead, they make an effort to conceal the fact that they are a spinoff by mimicking the style of the original website. We downloaded five other Wordle apps from the App Store and found that just one properly credited Wardle for creating the original game.
While Apple has argued
While Apple has argued that it should permitted to maintain control over which applications run on iPhones and iPads due to its high standards and App Review process, the current scenario is humiliating for the company. Many frauds and disputes have cast doubt on the approval process, but some seem particularly transparent in their plagiarism of the original’s branding and design. It’s not hard to see plenty of people duped into believing they’re playing the real deal.
What’s worse is that the apps essentially carbon copies of a website, which is especially galling given that Apple recently defended progressive web applications in court as a viable alternative for developers in its ongoing legal dispute with Epic Games. It’s possible that argument won’t sway developers who are aiming for mobile users. UX manager Owen Williams points out on Twitter that even if someone were to search for their innovation on the App Store (something many people may do if they, example, saw a flurry of tweets with the name of a Fantastic New Thing everyone’s playing with).
They wouldn’t even get a seat at the table
However, it seems that Wordle knockoffs aren’t nearly as common on the Google Play Store. After searching for “wordle,” just one of the first twenty-two results looked to be a copy, and even that one was hidden under a “show more” button. The app had “500+ downloads” on Google Play, while the creator of dordle one of the iOS Wordle clones boasted on Twitter that they were receiving 5,400 downloads an hour, despite the fact that their app wasn’t even in the first three results. (Before their app went live, the same developer tweeted an image of a message claiming it was awaiting review with the phrase “let’s see what Apple thinks.”)
Wardle hasn’t added adverts, subscriptions, one-off charges, or a tip jar to his Wordle site. There is no cost at all. He reportedly created the game for his girlfriend since she liked to do crosswords. Wordle’s popularity may be attributed, in part, to the fact that “people sort of appreciate that there is this thing online that is simply enjoyable,” as Wardle put it. Its developers have said that they have no malicious intentions towards the user’s personal information or viewing habits. The game is only for fun.
None of the Wordle-like applications
None of the Wordle-like applications I’ve tested adds a paywall like the original. Several displayed many adverts, frequently with the opportunity to pay to eliminate them; one program required an annual $30 subscription to access the “Pro” version. (The creator of the app boasted on a now-deleted Twitter account that they planned to “earn heaps of dordle fucking money” in 2022 thanks to the app’s “getting to the fucking moon.”) If you paid, you may play more than once each day and choose the number of letters in each word. One of the many enticing features of the original Wordle is that it only updates once each day.
The original’s share function makes it simple to copy a number of blocks without spoilers and then paste them into a message to send to friends or post on social media; I couldn’t find a clear analogue in most of the applications I tested. Nevertheless, the one advertising the $30 membership did, replacing Wordle with “The Wordle App” and adding a few phrases.
The App Store share the “Wordle”
Keeping obvious duplicates off the App Store, even if Apple wanted to, would be difficult due to the fact that some games now available on the App Store share the “Wordle” moniker but not the gameplay. Several of these apps haven’t updated in years, so it’s clear that their developers weren’t attempting to cash in on a fad by imitating a successful one (and are therefore not likely requiring any judgment calls from App Review).
Nonetheless, Apple seems willing to give it a go. Within about an hour after we published this article, we learned that Apple has begun removing the clones from the App Store. Wordles-containing titles that we previously encountered have vanished.