Last week, we wrote about the legal status of a spate of shameless Wordle clones that briefly clogged the iOS App Store with attempts to cash in on the trendy web game. Today, we get to focus on a story that’s almost the complete opposite of that, as the developer behind a pre-existing app named Wordle! is donating the proceeds from an unexpected windfall driven by the unrelated viral hit.
Developer Steven Cravotta writes about how he created a game called Wordle! five years ago, at the age of 18, “mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skillz, and maybe make a quick buck.” That game—which asks players to build as many words as they can from a set of letters in a strict time limit—drew about 100,000 free downloads in a matter of months before Cravotta “stopped updating and promoting the app,” he wrote on Twitter.
Imagine Cravotta’s surprise when the usual pace of one or two legacy downloads a day suddenly increased to a reported 200,000 downloads per week. That popularity spike was, of course, the result of the popularity of the other Wordle, a daily in-browser word-guessing game created by Josh Wardle that happens to share the same name (and no other relationship).