The developer behind a five-year-old app going by the name Wordle has donated his sudden monetary windfall to charity after confused users began flocking to his ageing puzzler, mistaking it for the smash-hit browser-based word game of the same name.
Wordle, the new one that is, has taken the world by storm in recent months, with users returning to play the word-based head scratcher day after day. Despite its success, creator Josh Wardle has pledged to keep his game browser-based and ad-free – a decision that’s lead to plenty of unscrupulous sorts cloning the game to turn a quick profit on mobile app stores.
One Wordle app, however, is legit, predating Wardle’s game by five years – and its developer, Steven Cravotta, was both surprised and bemused (thanks Games Radar) to discover the software he’d long abandoned and left to languish in a mustier corner of the iOS App Store was suddenly gaining immense traction following mainstream media coverage of the newer puzzler.
As Cravotta explained on Twitter, his app, built when he was 18, didn’t take off in the way he’d hoped. And so, “after a few months and ~100k total downloads, I stopped updating and promoting [it]”, leaving its download numbers to dwindle to single digits as the years went by. One week ago, however, Cravotta logged into his dashboard, “and was SHOOK at what I saw.”
It turns out a significant chunk of media coverage failed to specify new Wordle was a browser-based game, and curious sorts began flocking in their masses to the App Store in search of it, only to stumble upon Cravotta’s own word-based puzzler. “My Wordle app has gotten 200,000 downloads in the past 7 days,” he revealed, “and it’s not even slowing down yet.”
Here?s how a mobile game I built 5 years ago suddenly got blown up by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Jimmy Fallon.
— Steven (@StevenCravotta) January 12, 2022
With old Wordle suddenly generating revenue for Cravotta again as confused patrons began slapping down cash for in-app purchases, the developer decided to reach out to new Wordle’s Wardle, offering to donate the proceeds his ageing game was now making off the back of the browser-based hit to charity. “I figured we could turn this very strange, once in a lifetime scenario and make it something amazing!”, he explained.
In an update to his thread, Cravotta says he and Wardle have now selected West Oakland’s youth literacy programme Boost as the recipient of the donation. “Very excited to support such an amazing program,” he wrote. “We feel the money will make a real impact here!”.
Confirming the story, Wardle tweeted, “Steven Cravotta reached out to me unprompted and asked about donating the proceeds. He’s a class act and you should follow him.”