Wordle Rip-Off appeared on the App Store with subscription model, withdrawn after criticism

Deepak Gupta January 12, 2022
Updated 2022/01/12 at 12:06 PM

Wordle – the daily secret word game – has proved hugely popular recently as a number of people have started tweeting about the game with screenshots, making it even popular. But since Wordle is so far officially web-only playable, a developer built its clone and put it live on Apple’s App Store. The replica arrived with in-app purchases and garnered thousands of downloads shortly after launch. However, shortly after its debut, the game was pulled from the App Store.

New York developer Zach Shakked created the Wordle copy earlier this week. Called Wordle – The App, it offered similar gameplay where users had to guess five-letter words to solve the puzzle of the day. It also had the same layout and interface. The theft, however, had some changes from the original version and allowed users to guess words of up to seven letters, the developer tweeted.

While Wordle in his official form is available for free for all users, the copied template was available with an annual subscription of US$30 (approximately Rs. 2,200). The game had over 5,400 downloads in just one hour after release and reached #28 for word games available on the App Store shortly after Shakked. he said.

The developer highlighted that it managed to offer the same game mechanics and in-game interface that are available in Wordle, as the creator of the original version – Josh Wardle – does not own the brand.

But even so, shortly after creating the imitation, Shakked faced outrage on Twitter for copying the much-loved game. Apple has finally removed the theft from the App Store, the developer informed in a topic on Twitter.

Favoring his decision to copy Wordle, Shakked said he was working on an update with a different interface.

“This was the perfect storm to publicly crucify myself for something that is commonplace,” he tweeted. “Within a week, my app would look totally different and have a lot more functionality than [the] the original guy did.”

he, however, recognized imitation and stated that he would not repeat it in the future.

That said, the appearance of the copy of Wordle on the App Store suggests that Apple needs a more rigorous process of reviewing apps that just duplicate a game or solution that has gained popularity in a short time.

A report from IT security company Trend Micro in 2019 revealed that hundreds of fake apps existed in the App Store. Developers including Kosta Eleftheriou also last year highlighted that Apple’s algorithms for approving apps are often tricked by copycats.

Apple declined to comment on a request around concerns raised over the Wordle theft. Gadgets 360 also reached out to Wardle to get his thoughts on the ripped version. This article will be updated when we receive a response.


See the latest from the Consumer Electronics Show on Gadgets 360 in our CES 2022 hub.

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