Angry, upset, irate, duped — Wordle knock-offs leave fans of free game fuming

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The wildly popular puzzle game Wordle has found itself in the midst of unexpected controversy this week as knock-off versions try to make money off free games.

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Developed by software developer barely two months ago Josh Wardle For his puzzle-loving wife, the basics Play It’s quite simple: players must guess the correct spelling of a five-letter word. Under six guesses, players use clues to figure out the word of the day, which is the same for each player in the world on that day.

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Guess a correct letter in the right place and the game turns the letter green. A correct letter in the wrong place is yellow, and letters that are not in the word are grayed out. That’s all.

This simple concept has exploded this month, from a few dozen friends and family at Wardle’s who played in November to the nearly three million people who participated this week.

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Wardle’s game is free to play and is based on a web browser, a move that inadvertently opened the door for a number of imitators to launch app-based versions on Apple and Google devices, most of which are users. Let’s try to get paid to play.

One such version, by New York-based app developer Zach Scheid, has been exclusively acquired online, as he was very candid about it, even tweeting what he was doing and his Was gleefully reporting on the number of people who downloaded the game, which was sold for $29.99 US.

While Shaked has garnered the most recognition, he is far from the only one to try. Roughly a dozen apps have surfaced on the App Store in recent weeks, most of which embody the look, feel, and concepts of Wordle, while conveniently adding a price tag. Most of them began mysteriously disappearing from Apple’s App Store on Tuesday, as online outrage began to spread.

Users are worried

Apple confirmed to businesshala News that the company removed several Wordle-like apps this week. As of Wednesday morning, only one game with the word “wordle” in its title was still available to download, and that was an unrelated children’s game from 2017 where users have to make as many words as they can from a set of letters. So many words have to be pronounced. , within a specified time period.

A look at the App Store’s user agreement explains why others have been deprecated.

“Don’t copy the latest popular app… or make some minor changes to another app’s name or UI [user interface] And pass it off as your own,” the company advises. “In addition to risking an intellectual property infringement claim, it makes the App Store harder to navigate and isn’t fair to your fellow developers.”

Not surprisingly, Shudd has been met with online criticism. Julian Sanchez of Kitchener, Ontario, says the stunt is indicative of problems in the technical sector as a whole.

“The drive to look at things that already work and try to find a way to insert themselves so they can make money,” Sanchez told businesshala News. “It’s not really about setting out to solve big problems — it’s about trying to have a piece of the pie.”

Sanchez said there was no need for a knock-off. “People are loving [Wordle] And it works, but god forbid something is free and fun and nobody makes money out of it.”

‘It has that community feel’

For fans of the game, the original free version has been a great form of self-care in surviving the pandemic. Torontonian Adam Kertez says he fell in love with the game when he first played, and has even turned his friends and family into dedicated players.

For Kertesz, one of the game’s biggest selling points is that it can only be played once a day, with a new word coming to all users each day at midnight. Most of the paid versions tinker with the concept by adding the option to play multiple games in a day or versions with more than five characters.

That built-in feature is what gives the game “that community feel,” he said. “You feel like you are part of something bigger.”

This is why Kertez has no desire to download any app version that would allow him to play the game more often. “It takes away from its purity, a one-time occurrence.”

Edmontonian Donal O’Berne, who runs data visualization exercises at ATB Financial, is another devotee.

“It’s a brilliant intellectual exercise,” he said. “It allows you to focus on word pattern analysis and word frequency analysis, letter frequency analysis and cryptography… I’m totally stupid about it. I’m having a lot of fun.”

Stacy Costa, a mystic — or puzzle expert — at the University of Toronto, says the game’s popularity is no surprise.

“Those five or 10 minutes that you’re doing Wordle or any puzzle, you’re not thinking about everything that’s going on in the world,” she said.

“You … are fixing some of that chaos.”

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