Copies of viral games disappear from the App Store

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The original game creator deliberately chose to make the game accessible and ad-free

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So-called imitators of an online word game – aptly named Worldle – have been removed from the Apple App Store after public outcry on social media.

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Wordle, a language game that can be played for free on a web browser, was created by Josh Wardle, a former Reddit software engineer. Users have six tries to guess a five-letter word. The results can be shared (and bragged) on social media. The game was applauded by the likes of comedian Jimmy Fallon, who said it was ” intoxicated », and musicians from The Lumineers. The game’s popularity has skyrocketed since its launch in October 2021. It has grown from 90 players to now over 2 million.

Wardle explained in a BBC Radio interview that his decision to make the game accessible and ad-free was deliberate. The game is available via web browser only, not as an app. However, that hasn’t stopped others from trying to monetize its popularity by creating versions of it in the Apple App Store and Google Play Apps.

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On social media, people were quick to point out the number of similar games on offer. And some were charging users to play. Zach Shakked is the developer of one of the games that recently appeared on the App Store. He called his version Wordle – The App. On Twitter, he says he realized that “he crossed a line”. However, he defended his choice to charge US$30 for a subscription. (The game also offered users a free trial).


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