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


Developer Zach Shakked — the creator of considered one of 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 Retailer after an web backlash that adopted his boasting about the money-making potential of his clone.

“I understand I crossed a line. And I certainly, certainly won’t ever do something remotely near this once more. I fucked up,” tweeted Shakked. He goes on to elucidate 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 general 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.

Right here have 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 will hack collectively one thing on the weekend and see if I could make a buck

— Zach (@zachshakked) January 12, 2022

Wordle has skyrocketed to reputation 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 unique game is totally free and solely performed by way of an online browser, leaving a chance for any variety of copycats to try to make a fast buck off the idea on the App Retailer.

Shakked’s clone (referred to as “Wordle – The App”) was considered one of the extra high-profile copies, due to the developer’s celebratory tweets about the mission and the eyebrow-raising price ticket — an non-compulsory $30-per-year annual subscription that may enable gamers to play a vast variety of puzzles, as a substitute of Wordle’s one-per-day system. Shakked’s tweets additionally rubbed many the fallacious approach, 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 reviews of Wordle knockoffs broke, Apple leapt into motion, eradicating the offending apps from the App Retailer final night time. At present, there are solely two puzzle video games referred to as “Wordle” left on Apple’s storefront, each of which provide very various kinds of word video games than Wardle’s viral hit and which predate the net app by quite a few years. (By the way, the different Wordles look like tremendously benefiting from Wardle’s game’s success, with each apps rocketing up the App Retailer charts).

In a separate thread, Shakked additionally says that he spoke to Wardle and supplied to license the concept, work collectively to develop an official app, or pay him a proportion of any revenue, which Wardle reportedly declined. Shakked additionally claims that he informed Wardle that he would “contemplate altering the identify” earlier than the app was eliminated solely.

Wardle, for what it’s price, has already been extraordinarily clear about the concept of monetizing Wordle (which, as he explained in a New York Times interview, was initially created as a present for his accomplice). “I feel folks form of recognize that there’s this factor on-line that’s simply enjoyable,” Wardle mentioned. “It’s not making an attempt to do something shady together with your knowledge or your eyeballs. It’s only a game that’s enjoyable.”

The aftermath of the blowback appears to have soured Shakked (who had beforehand complained on Twitter about how “[s]hameless copy/pasting concepts/options will get you nowhere”) on the concept of copycat apps in the future. “I’ll return to creating apps primarily based on my utterly, evergreen, unique concepts and by no means fuck with something remotely like this once more,” Shakked’s thread concludes.

Zach Shakked didn’t reply to request for remark.