Wordle Copycats Are Running Rampant on the App Store

Clones of the wildly popular Wordle game are climbing to the top of app charts. After taking down almost all of the copycat products at the beginning of the year, The App Store is packed with them once again. What’s more, its list of top free apps includes at least two of these impostors!

What Is Wordle?

If you prefer word games to the best online roulette casinos, you are probably familiar with Wordle. Its mechanics are similar to Jotto, a pen-and-paper game that appeared in 1955. 

  • Wordle gives players six attempts to guess a five-letter word. 
  • Each guess prompts feedback in the form of colored tiles. 
  • Every day, there is only one solution, so players around the world try to guess the same word.

The game itself is not on the Apple Store — it is hosted by The New York Times. However, Apple’s catalog features a plethora of similar word games. Many of them have returned after being wiped out. 

Misleading Descriptions

All impostors are named differently. However, all titles are reminiscent of the original hit game, for example: 

  • “Wordus” 
  • “Word Guess” 
  • “Wordl” 

The interface similarities are even more striking — each of these games has borrowed its gameplay from Wordle. Even the design and color schemes look alike.

What Is Apple’s Position?

According to the company’s recommendations, developers should not replicate other games or copy any of their elements and pass them off as their own. The App Store Guidelines encourages the use of unique ideas.

However, with Wordle, the situation is rather complicated. The game is not distributed via the App Store, so the copycats are not technically violating the guidelines. Yet, the history of app takedowns shows that this is not a loophole. Apple has already taken down Wordle clones in the past. The real question is if it should remove the impostors this time.

The App Store Wordle Clones Are Making a Profit, But How Big Is The Damage?

The original game was created by Josh Wardle as a gift for his partner. Initially, he did not intend to monetize it. According to Wardle himself, “It’s just a game that’s fun.” Yet, the situation has changed dramatically since January. The Creator sold it to one of the biggest newspapers in the world for a seven-figure amount.

Previously, public outrage stemmed from the fact that Wordle was free but greedy developers aimed to profit from its concept. Wordle is no longer a product from a single developer — it is part of a multi-billion dollar corporation that has its own lawyers. 

What happens next is unclear. Recently, The Verge has reached out to The New York Times for comments, but the newspaper declined to provide any information. Apple has not commented, either.  

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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