comscore Wordle puzzle game copycats vanish after Apple issues stricter developer guidelines
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Wordle copycats do a Houdini, as Apple issues stricter developer guidelines

Clones of Wordle — with the same gameplay and UI had flooded the App Store, but Apple seems to have set the precedent for stricter developer guidelines on such duplication.

Wordle

Original Wordle game


It seems like imitation, indeed, is the sincerest form of flattery, and it didn’t take Wordle long to have a long list of suitors. About three months since its inception, Twitter’s favourite poster child found numerous competitors on the App Store. The only problem? They weren’t really competitors but rather imitators. Wordle had set the benchmark for word puzzle games (if we are to go by the Twitter obsession), and like any benchmark, imitators followed trying to best the original product. Also Read - Your next gaming laptop, PC will be more expensive to buy: Here's why

For the uninitiated, if you had logged into the App Store recently to test your vocabulary with the newest Twitter trend, no one would have blamed you if you were overwhelmed while choosing the right game. Clones of Wordle — with the same gameplay and UI had flooded the App Store. Some went as far as to name it … you guessed it right: Wordle. Most of the copies were taking advantage of the fact that developer Josh Wardle (brownie points for the wordplay) hasn’t created an Apple app of his own. Also Read - iPhone SE+ or iPhone SE 3? Here’s what we know about the next affordable iPhone

The clone apps had their time under the sun until one developer flew too close to it. Icarus started bragging online about the downloads his version of the game was getting. After some intense backlash, he had to set his account to private. But it was too little too late for the developer (at least he created one). The damage was done, and people started noticing the plethora of clones that had flooded the App Store. Also Read - Apple regains top spot in global smartphone shipments as Samsung slips

That is until they started disappearing mysteriously. It still isn’t clear if Apple took down the duplicate apps, but everything points towards it. No other explanation makes sense to the disappearance of the clones in the space of an hour. It is very likely that Apple decided to put its foot down on a subject that it had until very recently not taken seriously.

“Don’t simply copy the latest popular app on the App Store or make some minor changes to another app’s name or UI and pass it off as your own,” mentioned in developer guidelines (section 4.1) is very unlikely to scare developers from creating clones. But if this is the first of many stringent actions to follow, new developer guidelines don’t seem far away.

That said, this isn’t the first time that the App Store has been flooded with duplicate apps and it likely won’t be the last. But if there’s anything to be read into the vanishing of Wordle’s clones, Apple might have just set the precedent for stricter developer guidelines.

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  • Published Date: January 12, 2022 5:15 PM IST



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