Wordle is being penalized by app stores for choosing the open web – TechCrunch

Wordle is being penalized by app stores for choosing the open web – TechCrunch

If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve probably noticed your timeline Drowning in the gray, green and yellow squares. These posts are thanks to Wordle, a free word game that gives you six attempts or less to guess the correct word of the day.

The game is absolutely ubiquitous, growing from a handful of users to hundreds of thousands in a matter of weeks, despite being free to play and originally designed by Brooklyn software engineer Josh Wardle for his partner.

Wordle stands out in the world of in-app purchases and loot boxes because it’s free to play, has absolutely no ads, and most importantly runs on a simple website, rather than requiring you to download an app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Choosing to make Wordle a web app, rather than downloading something from a store, makes sense, since it was developed as a passion project and not by a company, and it’s a simple, fun game that isn’t really designed to make money.

However, one of the side effects of this choice is that Wordle is suddenly stolen in the app stores by other developers who are cursing a quick way to make money from unsuspecting users who either don’t care or don’t know anything better.

Part of Wordle’s charm is that the color-block posts you see everywhere don’t really feel like ads; There is no link to the game or cliched version trying to convince you to install it: you are alone to find it via a quick Google search.

As a result, the average iPhone or Android owner will likely assume Wordle is an app and head straight to their App Store to find it – which is exactly what I did when I first discovered it, only to find deadlock when I started playing it a month ago before I realized I should Just search on Google.

Now, however, opportunistic developers have sniffed this scent and are creating nearly identical copies of Wordle in order to generate money as Wardle avoided doing so. one developer, Zach Shaked, cloned the game completely down to the exact gameplay and user interface, called it Wordle, and uploaded it to the Apple App Store, for $30 a year to play a game that was supposed to be free.

sure Brag on Twitter About how many users he was converting into paying customers as well as showing ads against the search term “Wordle” in the App Store. But after a widespread backlash, Shaked appeared to remove the game from sale, late on Tuesday Posting a lengthy apology and partial justification About his actions on Twitter.

In the past, we’ve seen cloning behavior like this run in app stores with viral games like threes And flapping bird, both of which have been cloned by developers and rejigged slight With additional fees or advertising up front in the hopes of deceiving a few users and making a quick profit.

Wordle faces a threat we haven’t seen yet: a game developer is being penalized primarily by app stores for choosing to build with open web technologies, rather than a native app. Not only does the Apple App Store allow this kind of behavior, but there is a bit of a recourse – because as far as Apple is concerned, Wordle doesn’t exist, since no native app was built.

There is no way for a fully functional, web-capable web app developer like Wordle to claim their name in the App Store, and no way for them to list their website to get users to the right place and defend themselves from imitators. In fact, Google does allow developers to upload some types of progressive web apps to the Play Store, although at the time of writing, Wardle does not appear to have chosen to do so. If he wanted to defend his game on the Play Store when a copy appeared there, he would at least have the option to do so.

He. She can It can be said that Wardle did not trademark Wordle – let alone invent the actual gameplay given that it Based on the 70’s game show—But that’s not the point: Since Wordle is based on the web, it will constantly open itself to clones until Wardle develops an official app.

Apple has a long history of willfully ignoring or insulting open web technologies that can rival the incredibly successful and profitable closed App Store. Progressive Web Apps (PWA), a set of standards that allow websites to function similarly to native apps, is tepidly supported, broken, or conspicuously ignored on iOS and iPadOS.

Web push, a standard that allows websites to send notifications to users, has been ignored by Apple for years without any explanation despite support in nearly every competing browser, including the desktop version of Safari. When Apple doesn’t ignore standards that would allow web apps to compete on an equal playing field, it could intentionally delay them for years, a practice documented in this long and exhausting list by Alex Russell, an engineer at Google.

The inability to claim the name and link to a website, rather than create a local app, is by design for this reason: Apple doesn’t want users to go to the web. Instead, the company is intentionally harming the open web for its own gain at the expense of its app store users who might be tricked into paying for something that could be free, if they just search the web instead.

Update: A large number of copies of Wordle, including Shakked’s, were removed from the App Store by Apple without comment on January 12th.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *