Major Mobile Tech Firm Buys Wordle!

Wordle!, an old mobile game with the same name as the viral online game Wordle, has been bought by mobile marketing firm and game maker AppLovin in an undisclosed deal. TechCrunch reports: While you may have now heard of the popular online game Wordle, later bought by The NYT, you may have missed the story earlier this year about how a mobile game of the same name was blowing up on the App Store. [Developer Steven Cravotta] said he had been surprised to find a game he created as a teenager five years ago suddenly being downloaded 40,000 times per day, up from just 10 downloads per day the month before, The WSJ had reported at the time. As it turned out, iPhone users had gone to the App Store in search of the Wordle game everyone was talking about and had been downloading Cravotta’s game by mistake.

Cravotta’s Wordle! game was similar to the online version that everyone was playing. He said he had created it as a teen because he wanted to make something that would challenge people’s minds and be a great game for kids. But the app never took off. Cravotta promoted it for around half a year, he says, before deciding to move on to other things. “It just sat in my developer account for the longest time getting maybe one to two downloads a day for six years … until all this craziness happened,” Cravotta tells TechCrunch.

The mobile game monetized through paid advertisements and in-app purchases. While Cravotta could have tweaked the game to make even more money to capitalize on the surge of users, he left it untouched. “I just kind of let it run and do its thing,” he says. According to data from Sensor Tower, the mobile game was downloaded approximately 18.9 million times. The vast majority of the installs (more than 99.6%) arrived after the web game went viral — with downloads spiking on Jan. 12, 2022. From Feb. 12, 2022 onward, the game has seen 13.7 million downloads — or about 72% of its lifetime installs since its April 2016 launch, the firm said. Today, the iOS game is still the No. 19 mobile game in the U.S. by average monthly active users as of the first quarter, right behind bigger titles like Among Us and just ahead of notable games like Minecraft and PUBG Mobile.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NYT Takes Down Third-Party Wordle Archive

The New York Times, which acquired Wordle in January, is putting an end to unofficial takes of the game. The latest casualty is Wordle Archive, a website that let users play through hundreds of previous daily five-letter Wordle puzzles. According to Ars Technica, the site “has been taken down at the request of Wordle owner The New York Times.” From the report: The archival site, which offered a backward-looking play feature that’s not available in the NYT’s official version of Wordle, had been up since early January. But it was taken down last week and replaced with a message saying, “Sadly, the New York Times has requested that the Wordle Archive be taken down.” A Twitter search shows dozens of daily Wordle Archive players who were willing to share their results on social media up through March 7. “The usage was unauthorized, and we were in touch with them,” a New York Times representative said in response to an Ars Technica comment request. “We don’t plan to comment beyond that.”

The Wordle Archive is still fully playable in its own archived form (as of March 5) at the Internet Archive, appropriately enough. Other sites that allow you to play archived Wordle puzzles are not hard to find, as are sites that let you play unlimited Wordle puzzles beyond the usual one-a-day limit. But some of those sites may be under threat, if the Times’ treatment of Wordle Archive is any indication.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.