Wordle developer donates app expenses to charity

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The game became extremely popular within a few months

The developer of a game with the same name as the Wordle hit has donated money from its app to charity, after people mistakenly downloaded it.

Steve Cravotta said he saw more than 200,000 downloads of his Wordle game in a week, after his namesake went viral.

While Wordle, a web-based hit, doesn’t have an app, people were spending money on in-app purchases in Mr. Cravotta’s game.

This money will go to an educational charity – the amount was not disclosed.

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The Wordle app asks players to guess anagrams of words within a time limit – and they can pay to unlock new levels.

It’s been on the App Store for five years but hasn’t really taken off and after a few months and 100,000 downloads, Mr. Cravotta stopped updating or promoting it.

But over the past three months, the web-based Wordle, a different game of the same name, has grown from a handful of players to millions.

This Wordle challenges players to find a five-letter word in six guesses, with only one word per day.

There are clues along the way, with squares that change color if a correct letter or its correct place in the word is guessed.

Players can share how quickly they solved the puzzle by posting their grid on social media – but in a way that doesn’t spoil the answer for those still playing.

Mr Wardle told BBC Radio 4’s Today program he was wary of attention-seeking mobile apps, saying he had deliberately designed Wordle to be simple, with no ads or any means collect user data.

When Mr Cravotta noticed people were spending money on his app, he decided to contact Mr Wardle.

“I thought we could turn this very strange, once-in-a-lifetime scenario into something amazing,” he tweeted.

“Class Act”

Mr. Wardle too tweeted, confirming that Mr Cravotta ‘reached out his hand uninvited’.

“This is a class act,” he wrote.

Together, they chose to donate proceeds to BoostOakland, a charity providing mentorship and tutoring to young people in California.

Wordle, itself similar to previous games, has been plagued with copycat versions since its launch in November.

Last week, Apple took the unusual step of removing some of them from its App Store.

“I felt disconnected”

The fact that it’s web-based and determined to avoid the addictive, data-hungry, ad-laden nature of many app-based games, is the secret to its success, says Nick Bowman, associate professor of creative media at the Texas Tech University. , and a Wordle fan.

“A lot of our digital infrastructure asks us for things – we click on something, we get notifications, things are shared beyond us,” he said.

“Wordle leaves you alone and gives us a break – and we control the experience.

“Wordle provides a simple and original way to snack on a five-letter word that’s shared across the world, at a time when we’ve felt disconnected and the only five-letter world we use is ‘Covid’.

“The game has always been social, but there aren’t many where we can share our full performance.

“With Wordle, I can show you what I was thinking but without saying the word to you.”


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