Wordle is a trend. Even if you don’t play it, you’ll almost certainly see it if you use Twitter: small grids of green, yellow and gray blocks, with a short, odd sequence of numbers. ۔ They look like this:
You can read about the breakdown in depth here, but the short version is that it’s easy, challenging, and fun: a wonderful little brain teaser all around, really. It’s also completely non-monetized, which is refreshing. There are no ads or optional in-game purchases, and in fact you can only play it once a day. Developer Josh Wardell (really) made it for his partner, a fan of the word game, and then opened it to the public in October.
“That’s what makes you want to spend three minutes a day,” Wardle told the New York Times. “And that’s it. Like, it doesn’t take much of your time.”
It’s a great story – a guy makes a smart, simple game as a token of his love, then shares that magic with the world – which creates a clone that has recently hit the App Store, a lot. Sounds more messy. Ripoffs and clones are a fact of life in mobile gaming (and PC gaming), but the issue is especially big because Wordle is the ‘creator’ of the mobile app. Zachary shook, Has picked up everything directly, including the title, and relied on the “Wordle Pro” upgrade option (at $ 30!) Which includes different game modes with 4, 6, and 7 character words, and unlimited. Presents plays per day.
As if that weren’t bad enough, Shakked took the opportunity to boast on social media about how well the app was performing. This led to a tremendous pushback from Warden’s fans, and when Shaked responded with a snark about Warden’s failure to trademark the mechanics and title of the first game, he quickly gave up and Protected your Twitter account. Fortunately, you can see a picture of her tweets and others. Interactions below.
This guy shamelessly cloned Wordle (name and all) as an F2P iOS game with app purchases and brags about how well it works and how he can avoid it because Josh Wardell did not trademark it. So bad pic.twitter.com/kIs8BypurAJanuary 11, 2022
It’s not a defense of Shakked (or anyone else who rips apart other people’s work), but it’s far from the only wordle ripoff in the App Store. Some games using Warden’s web-based hit titles, but most are open-ended – as I said, it’s unfortunately common practice:
But most of these clone makers at least had a good idea of keeping quiet about it. Shock’s conquest on Twitter hit him: it literally brought the “I did it” meme to real life.
Apple said last year that with an automated review process, it employs about 500 people to provide “strong manual reviews” of the software offered for sale on its App Store. As a result, about 40% of applications submitted are rejected, but many still pass. Which is probably not surprising: about 5 million apps are submitted for review each year.
I have contacted Wardel to comment on the Wordle clone, and I will update if I receive a response.