Welsh creator of Wordle says he sold the game due to ‘deeply unpleasant’ rip off copies
The Welsh creator of the smash hit game Wordle has admitted felt he had to sell the game to the New York Times due to stress from number of copycats versions which sprang up following the original’s success.
Josh Wardle, who lives in Brooklyn, but grew up in Llanddewi Rhydderch, near Abergavenny, sold the game in January for a figure “in the low seven figures”, admitting the success of Wordle had become “a little overwhelming”.
Speaking at a recent Game Developers Conference, Wardle confessed he found it difficult to cope with the word games’ phenomenal online success and in particular was unhappy at the number of rip off versions that were launched to make money off the back of Wardle’s free game.
“That isn’t money that I would have made, because I said I don’t want to make money, but something about [the copies] felt really deeply unpleasant for me,” he said.
The situation “felt like it was all going to get really, really complicated in a way that just [made me] pretty stressed out, truthfully.”
“It was clear that this [copying] was going to happen, regardless of whether I wanted it to happen or not. The business side of running a game doesn’t interest me at all” said Wardle.
“So other people monetising wasn’t the reason that I sold to The New York Times, but if I find myself thinking about the what-ifs now… I have to remind myself of how I felt around that time, and I felt miserable.”
Wardle went attended King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, before going on to study Media Arts, at Royal Holloway, University of London.
He has worked for the likes of tech giants Reddit, and Pinterest and said he and his partner originally played the game for fun on their sofa.
“It going viral doesn’t feel great to be honest. I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly,” he told the Guardian in January.
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““That isn’t money that I would have made, because I said I don’t want to make money” Nevertheless, I’m sure the $million+ helped to ease the pain. Obviously it’s his choice, but it makes all his earlier virtue-signalling about not intending to sell it sound extremely hollow. BTW, while I like others still play it at New York Times, I will have no hesitation in dropping it if they impose any registration or fee requirements. I don’t participate in any other elements of that Yankee rag’s website either. I’m sure many others feel the same so they may well regret… Read more »
My goodness man! You invented a game that people liked. Then sold it for a large sum to an organisation better placed to manage it.
Stop with the angst and enjoy your earned success. Wordle is only a game and it charges only micropayments. You haven’t betrayed anyone.
The best of luck to you, love from the homeland.