Bulletins

There are scores of Wordle clones on iOS because of course there are

Cloning is an endemic problem in mobile gaming, and now it's claimed your favorite daily word game.

There are scores of Wordle clones on iOS because of course there are

If you search "Wordle" on the App Store right now, you'll find nearly a dozen copycat versions of the game.

Screenshot: Nick Statt/Protocol

Wordle is the newest viral game taking over your Twitter feed and group chats, and with popularity comes cloning. If you search "Wordle" on the App Store right now, you'll find nearly a dozen copycat versions of the game, many of which shamelessly use the game's name in the app title with little to no alteration.


Most of the games look identical to the version created in private and for free by software engineer Josh Wardle, who maintains the game but has not asked for any monetary compensation for doing so. But as is the case with anything organic and popular on the internet, there are always those interested in profiting off it in one way or another. That's especially true in the world of mobile gaming where so-called cloning is a rampant practice with little to no recourse for creators.

Usually, cloned apps are made by relatively anonymous developers whose skill lies in quickly turning new and popular ideas in game design into quick, functional apps. In some cases, developers will rework existing apps and change the name, too. But slap some ads on there or attach a small price like $1.99 and they stand to make some money.

However, in this case, a developer by the name of Zachary Shakked created a Wordle clone as a self-described fan of the game, and then released it on iOS with a $30-per-year pro version that allows you to keep playing and also modify the number of letters in the word you're guessing. It's one of the more popular of the Wordle clones on the iPhone right now. Shakked has since put his Twitter profile to private after users found older tweets in which he criticized those who shamelessly copy other's ideas.

Cloning is not exactly what you would call honest app development work, and it's an endemic issue in mobile gaming that's not quite solvable given the industry-wide truce around abuse of copyright law and trademarks. Games wouldn't be very fun if you had to pay a licensing fee or risk a lawsuit every time you wanted to borrow a good idea, so most developers just treat copying and cloning as the cost of doing business.

One of the most high-profile cases was the cloning of Asher Vollmer's Threes. The ingenious number game was cloned into a web game and then countless mobile apps under the name "2048" to viral success for the cloners, who opted to make their versions free while Vollmer initially took the paid route. The business model decision was one Vollmer later said he regretted but used as a teachable moment when he turned Threes into a free-to-play app and saw his revenue skyrocket.

For Wardle, who doesn't sound like he's interested in making money off Wordle, the cloning of a word game he built for his puzzle-loving partner to play together in private may not bother him so much. In an interview with The Guardian published Tuesday, Wardle sounded more concerned about the newfound fame his game has earned him. He said going viral "doesn’t feel great to be honest," and that he now feels "a sense of responsibility for the players … to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly.”

"I need to be really thoughtful. It’s not my full-time job and I don’t want it to become a source of stress and anxiety in my life. If I do make any changes, I would like to think they are changes I would have made even if it was just [my partner and I] playing," he said.

Latest Bulletins

The crash in cryptocurrency prices, which accelerated Friday into a rout, has wiped out more than $1 trillion in market value since early November. More than $200 billion was lost in just the last 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.

Keep Reading Show less

China plans to build enough charging stations for 20 million electric vehicles by 2025, according to a new document by the National Development and Reform Commission and nine other ministries. The government will offer direct financial subsidies and encourage favorable banking policies for companies to build charging facilities.

Keep Reading Show less

Developers at Raven Software, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, have formed a union with a supermajority of quality assurance workers after five weeks of striking, just days after Microsoft announced it would be acquiring Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion.

Keep Reading Show less

By establishing an opaque corporate structure and avoding detailed questions from partners, regulators and law enforcement, Binance is dodging many of the rules other financial firms are forced to follow. That’s according to a new Reuters investigation, which reviewed dozens of private documents including copies of encrypted Telegram messages, internal regulatory reports and letters sent by law enforcement.

Keep Reading Show less

Hank Green doesn’t think creators on TikTok are getting paid well enough, and he doesn’t think the majority of the people on TikTok even realize it, the vlogger explained in a YouTube video on Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood said it has started rolling out its much-awaited crypto wallets in a move that’s expected to boost its reach in the fast-growing market.

Keep Reading Show less

IBM announced today that it has sold its Watson Health data and analytics assets to private equity firm Francisco Partners. The highly anticipated sell-off includes data sets and analytics products such as Health Insights, MarketScan, Clinical Development, Social Program Management, Micromedex and imaging software offerings.

Keep Reading Show less

Intel plans to invest $20 billion in building out a 1,000-acre chip manufacturing mega site outside of Columbus, Ohio, the company said Friday, a project it said would create 3,000 permanent jobs in the region.

Keep Reading Show less

Twitter's new CEO has continued to shake up company leadership, announcing Wednesday that both Rinki Sethi and Peiter Zatko — better known as Mudge — would leave their roles as chief information security officer and head of Security, respectively.

Keep Reading Show less

Twitter announced Thursday that some Twitter Blue subscribers can now use one of their NFTs as their profile photo, as long as they're willing to connect their crypto wallet to their Twitter account.

Keep Reading Show less

A Tesla employee at the company's Fremont factory died on Wednesday while working on its production line.

Keep Reading Show less

Microsoft's purchase of Activision Blizzard this week has proven to be among the most consequential acquisition announcements in the history of the game industry, and it's proved equally controversial when considering what it means for big game franchises like Call of Duty. Now, Xbox chief Phil Spencer, CEO of the newly formed Microsoft Gaming division, has come out with a public statement affirming Microsoft's position on multi-platform support for the shooter series, though with a fair amount of ambiguity thrown in.

Keep Reading Show less

The Federal Reserve released a long-awaited review of the potential for creating a central bank digital currency Thursday, after months of delays. Ahead of making a decision, the Fed has asked the public to submit answers on 22 questions posed in the report.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok ousted its Nick Tran, its global head of marketing, The Information reported. The reason for his departure was not made clear.

Keep Reading Show less

Know someone in the market for a few hundred boxes of alcohol wipes, thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer or some bulletproof glass partitions? Meta is selling all this and more at its Menlo Park headquarters in an auction closing Thursday. (What, the company didn't think it could move it on Facebook Marketplace?)

Keep Reading Show less

New York City Mayor Eric Adams will receive his first paycheck in bitcoin and ethereum, highlighting his bid to turn the Big Apple into a major crypto hub.

Keep Reading Show less

The game industry as a whole is slowly but surely beginning to call for systemic change to business practices and workplace culture norms, and developers are now more than ever before looking at unionization as the tool for doing so, according to a new survey.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon is digging deeper into the physical storefront. The tech giant is opening a real-world clothing store called Amazon Style in Los Angeles later this year, the company announced Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

Shanghai’s municipal government on Wednesday announced new policies meant to bolster China’s advanced chipmaking capabilities.

Keep Reading Show less

Google is testing the waters with bitcoin as cryptocurrency starts to become more widely adopted.

The tech giant is enabling digital cards that store cryptocurrencies to be used on Google Pay, through partnerships with Coinbase, BitPay and Gemini, the company said. The news was earlier reported by Bloomberg.

Keep Reading Show less

After shutting down withdrawals due to suspicious activity, Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek confirmed to Bloomberg that the exchanged experienced a security breach affecting 400 accounts on Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Instagram is trying out a new way for creators to get paid. Following in the footsteps of Twitter's nascent "Super Follow" feature, Instagram is testing creator subscriptions, allowing a select few to offer followers paid access to exclusive content.

Keep Reading Show less

The exclusive maker of the machines used to fabricate the world’s most advanced chips gave us a bit of rare good news about the global shortage of microprocessors Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

In her first TV interview since becoming chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan had a message for business executives who think their money, lawyers and lobbyists will shield them from antitrust scrutiny: "Enforcers are not gonna back down."

Keep Reading Show less

Revolut is rolling out commission-free stock trading in the U.S., highlighting the U.K. mobile banking company’s bid to become a “global financial super app.” The move is also a direct challenge to major online brokerages led by Robinhood. Shares of Robinhood slipped 2% in late morning trading.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins