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

Developer Zach Shakked — the creator of one in all a number of controversial copycat variations of Josh Wardle’s popular free word-guessing game — has responded to Apple eradicating his app from the App Store after an web backlash that adopted his boasting about the money-making potential of his clone.

“I realize I crossed a line. And I surely, surely will never do anything remotely close to this again. I fucked up,” tweeted Shakked. He goes on to clarify that “Wordle” itself wasn’t trademarked and that Wardle’s game was much like Lingo, an older TV game present with an identical word-guessing mechanic. Shakked additionally says that he deliberate to broaden on Wordle with extra performance and alter the total design of the app to much less resemble Wardle’s personal game, had he been in a position to earlier than Apple eliminated his app from the retailer.

Here had been my calculations:
a) Wordle is a ripoff of one other game
b) Wordle the word is not trademarked and there is a bunch of different unrelated word apps named the identical factor
c) Wow, I’ll hack collectively one thing on the weekend and see if I could make a buck

— Zach (@zachshakked) January 12, 2022


Wordle has skyrocketed to recognition over the previous a number of weeks, with its minimalist design, bite-sized day by day puzzles, and the now-iconic grids of gray, yellow, and inexperienced squares. The authentic game is totally free and solely performed by an online browser, leaving a possibility for any variety of copycats to try to make a fast buck off the idea on the App Store.

Shakked’s clone (known as “Wordle – The App”) was one in all the extra high-profile copies, due to the developer’s celebratory tweets about the undertaking and the eyebrow-raising price ticket — an optionally available $30-per-year annual subscription that may permit gamers to play an infinite variety of puzzles, as an alternative of Wordle’s one-per-day system. Shakked’s tweets additionally rubbed many the incorrect method, boasting about what number of downloads and subscription trials his app was getting and the way it was “going to the fucking moon.”

Shortly after stories of Wordle knockoffs broke, Apple leapt into motion, eradicating the offending apps from the App Store final evening. Currently, there are solely two puzzle video games known as “Wordle” left on Apple’s storefront, each of which supply very various kinds of word video games than Wardle’s viral hit and which predate the internet app by quite a lot of years. (Incidentally, the different Wordles seem like tremendously benefiting from Wardle’s game’s success, with each apps rocketing up the App Store charts).


In a separate thread, Shakked additionally says that he spoke to Wardle and provided to license the thought, work collectively to develop an official app, or pay him a share of any revenue, which Wardle reportedly declined. Shakked additionally claims that he instructed Wardle that he would “consider changing the name” earlier than the app was eliminated totally.

Wardle, for what it’s value, has already been extraordinarily clear about the thought of monetizing Wordle (which, as he explained in a New York Times interview, was initially created as a present for his accomplice). “I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun,” Wardle mentioned. “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It’s just a game that’s fun.”

The aftermath of the blowback appears to have soured Shakked (who had beforehand complained on Twitter about how “[s]hameless copy/pasting ideas/features will get you nowhere”) on the thought of copycat apps in the future. “I’ll go back to creating apps based on my completely, evergreen, original ideas and never fuck with anything remotely like this again,” Shakked’s thread concludes.

Zach Shakked didn’t reply to request for remark.


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