Technology

Wordle copycat creator apologizes for ripping off the popular free word game

Developer Zach Shakked – the creator of one of the many controversial imitations of Josh Wardle’s free word guessing game – has responded that Apple has removed its app from the App Store after an online backlash that followed bragging that it could make money for it. cloning.

“I realized I crossed a line. And I definitely, definitely won’t do anything close to this again. Shaked tweeted. He goes on to explain that ‘Wordle’ itself wasn’t a brand and Wardle was similar to it.” language, an old TV game show with a similar word guessing mechanic. Shaked also says he plans to expand Word With more functionality and changing the app’s overall design to be less similar to Wardle’s own, was it able to before Apple removed its app from the Store.

Word It has skyrocketed in popularity over the past several weeks, with its simple design, bite-sized daily puzzles, and now distinctive grids of gray, yellow, and green squares. The original game is completely free to play and is only played through a web browser, which leaves an opportunity for any number of imitators to try to make a quick buck for the concept in the App Store.

Shaked’s clone (dubbed “Wordle – the app”) was one of the more popular, thanks to the developer’s festive tweets about the project and the surprising price tag – an optional $30 per year annual subscription that allows players to play an unlimited number of puzzles, instead of Word One system a day. Shaked’s tweets also misreported many, bragging about the number of downloads and subscription experiences his app got and how “going to the damn moon” it was.

Shortly after receiving reports of Word Breaking the imitations, Apple jumped into action, removing the offending apps from the App Store last night. Currently, there are only two types of puzzle games called “Wordle” left on the Apple Storefront, and both offer very different types of word games than the viral Wardle which predates the web app by a number of years. (By the way, other Wordles seem to benefit greatly from Wardle’s success, with both apps rising to the App Store charts.)

Separately, Shaked also said he had spoken to Wardle and offered to license the idea, work together to develop an official app, or pay a percentage of any profit, which Wardle reportedly rejected. Shaked also claims he told Wardle he would “consider changing the name” before removing the app entirely.

Wardle, for what he deserves, has been very clear about the monetization idea Word (Which, as explained in A The New York Times Interview, it was originally created as a gift to his partner). “I think people kind of appreciate that there’s something fun on the Internet,” Wardle said. “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It’s just a fun game.”

The fallout from the negative reaction seems to have nervous Shaked (who had previously complained on Twitter about how “[s]Copying/pasting ideas/features will get you nowhere”) in the idea of ​​imitating apps in the future. Shaked concludes “I will go back to creating apps based on my completely original and evergreen ideas and never deal with anything as remote as this again.”

Zack Shaked did not respond to a request for comment.

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