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Josh Wardle sold Wordle to escape the pressure of copycats

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Josh Wardle, the creator of the wildly popular game Wordle, has spoken out about why he chose to sell his game which had millions of daily active players worldwide, to The New York Times.

On Thursday, at a talk at GDC 2022, Josh Wardle said that he sold Wordle to avoid the stress of countering dozens of clones of the game that had sprung up on iOS and Android app stores, as well as the web.

The free-to-play game was sold by the Brooklyn-based Welsh developer on January 31, 2022, for over a million dollars. However, while Wardle wasn’t making any money from the game, Wordle clones were.

Just like any other popular game or app (or idea) on the internet, Wordle was also copied by dozens of developers, but unlike Josh Wardle, these copycats monetised the game through in-app ads, purchases and even subscriptions.

Wardle told The Independent that when his app was being cloned and people were profiting off it, he felt “miserable” and was not interested in the “business side of running a game”.

“I didn’t want to be paying a lawyer to issue cease and desists on the game that I’m not making money from. It felt like it was all going to get really, really complicated in a way,” Wardle said at the GDC talk.

Wordle is currently played by more than 300,000 people every day and remains a popular game under the umbrella of NYT Games which has over a million subscribers.

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