Wordle, the hit game of early 2022, is so popular that the creator of an entirely different game, also called Wordle!, is seeing a huge increase in business and is donating the proceeds of his app to charity.
Steven Cravotta created an app he dubbed Wordle! when he was 18, however it has languished for the past five years. “I built an app called Wordle when I was 18 mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skillz, and maybe make a quick buck,” Cravotta explained in a Twitter thread. “It didn’t quite take off like my previous app, Grid, did. So after a few months and ~100k total downloads, I stopped updating and promoting the app.”
He went on to explain that for the past four years, his version of Wordle, a timer-based word game, has averaged one or two downloads per day. In the past week, that number has skyrocketed to nearly 200,000, thanks to the success of Josh Wardle’s popular word game.
Cravotta tells Rolling Stone that initially he was perplexed by the increase in downloads. “My first reaction was that all of the downloads were fake,” he says. “A quick Google search was all that it took to find out I was wrong and people were mistaking my app with Josh’s.”
Wordle, the new game, is played on an Internet browser, rather than with an app. Still, Cravotta’s app has seen a massive increase in downloads, with many people assuming his app is the zeitgeist-y game. Once he realized what was happening, Cravotta decided to contact Wardle.
“I read the articles on Josh’s Wordle and respect his mission to keep the game free with no ads or tracking,” Cravotta says. “In the spirit of that I figured we could turn this lucky scenario into something amazing. Both of our apps are word based games so I figured we should donate the profits to a literacy type org. I reached out to Josh and we worked together to agree on donating the proceeds to Boost mobile.”
The funds raised by the Wordle app will go to Boost! West Oakland, a non-profit that focuses on literacy for young people in Oakland, CA.
Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, initially created Wordle for his partner, who loves word games. He launched the game online last October and it has since become a cultural phenomenon.
“I think people kind of appreciate that there’s this thing online that’s just fun,” Wardle told The New York Times. “It’s not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It’s just a game that’s fun.”
Cravotta, who recently developed an app called Puff Count, which helps users quit vaping, is as much of a fan of Wordle as the rest of us. “I do personally play Wordle, every day,” he confirms. “It’s a beautifully built game and very addicting. Wish all the success in the world for Josh.”