Skip to main content

Is Wordle Worth Jumping on the Post-Viral Bandwagon?

The Post-Viral App Is Still Helping Drive Revenue at The Times

The Wordle app’s popularity has cratered since The New York Times (NYT) acquired the app, but the latter is only one possible reason for the former’s fall.

Wordle’s plunge from late January highs are down almost 1000% in July. An average of 350,000 users posting game results to Twitter in the first month of the year. Those tweets are barely breaking 40,000 posts in July. Gaming function, management missteps, seasonal changes, knockoff apps, paywall rumors, and the essential nature of the phrase “gone viral” all factor into the decline. Despite the dive, Wordle’s January acquisition has been a success for NYT.  According to first quarter earnings, subscriptions to app games are driving growth for the media giant.

Wordle game #196 solved in 4 guesses
Berrely

“While we experienced real momentum in news, it was not the only driver… Wordle brought an unprecedented tens of millions of new users to The Times, many of whom stayed to play other games, which drove our best quarter ever for net subscriber additions to Games,” President and CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said in the report.

There are still plenty of people out there yet to jump on the Wordle bandwagon. That’s why we’re here today — to explore if the Josh Wardle creation is worth the post-viral time and distraction.

What Is Wordle?

Before plunging in, let’s describe what’s in the water. People can Wordle on the NYT web page or download the iOS or Android apps. Wordle asks players to guess a five-letter word in a maximum of six guesses. It’s a simple yet wiggly daily challenge that can lead to players losing their marbles if they fail to complete it.

i am going to become the joker

Wordle 388 X/6

⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩
⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩
⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩
⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩
⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩
⬛🟩🟩🟩🟩

— Erik Malinowski (@erikmal) July 12, 2022

Every day, there is a new puzzle — one chance to continue winning streaks. As every player plays the same puzzle day to day, the challenge becomes social, hence the preponderance of posting memes, broken streaks, associated museum pieces, and dog Wordle’s (hint: The word is “TREAT”).

Created by Reddit software engineer Josh Wardle, the game is completely free to play and used to be devoid of ads and in-app purchases. That changed with the Times. Now ads pop up after almost every click on the app.

How to Play Wordle

To begin a Wordle contest, enter any five-letter word — mount, rider, digit, frogs, etc. Letters that aren’t in the word are highlighted in gray (and are subsequently grayed out on keyboards). Letters users have matched, but aren’t in the correct location appear in yellow. And correct letters with correct locations materialize in green.

If my dog played Wordle pic.twitter.com/lBGJl5Q07M

— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) July 7, 2022

Wordle Strategies

There are a number of strategies to employ when rearranging and forming new conjectures. Using as many common letters as possible, especially vowels, is a good start. A word without the letter “A,” for example, eliminates a number of combinations. For a deeper dive into letter selection, the good folks at Art of Problem Solving provide some useful tips.

The site found that over 15% of daily Wordle’s begin with an S, and C, B, T, P, and A. These are also the only other starting letters that appear in more than 5% of correct words. These starting letters align with the general five-letter words. Correspondingly, vowels dominate the second and third letters vowels. A, O, R, E, I, L, U, and H appear in more than 5% of Wordle words as the second letter. There is a steep drop-off after that.

Another sneaky ploy is skipping the correct letters in the second attempt. Let’s say “STORE” is a first guess, and it turns out S and R are in play with T, O, and E out. The next attempt could be “BLINK,” which introduces more possible letters to link with S and R.

App Extras

Once people have attempted the puzzle for the day, they’re invited to share their Wordle journey. The tweet looks like this…

Wordle 389 4/6

⬛⬛🟩⬛⬛
⬛🟩🟩⬛⬛
⬛🟩🟩🟩⬛
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩 no yellows today ⁦@SaraEMole

— Steph Hughes (@NclSteph) July 12, 2022

There’s a pop-up ad before results are returned, and there’s another one for extra rewards post finishing. There are ads before Wordle’s add-on games open as well. Once Word Fever and Secret Word finally pop up (post ad), the action is entertaining enough for literary-leaning folk.

Word Fever asks operators to create three-, four-, and five-letter words from a random set of four, five, and six letters. If the word is acceptable, players get a point and move on to the next word. Play continues until the timer finally runs out before a word is made.

Secret Word is a little less concrete and requires more critical thinking. Competitors have to again form a word from a jumble, but the word has to be synonymous or an object of a previous word. Think “SKY,” then “SUN,” “WARM,” (another ad), “COOK,” “HAMBURGER,” “MEAT,” etc. It’s not an exact science, but one that could certainly promote plastic brain growth.

These practice rounds also sharpen primary Wordle gameplay chops.

The Final Word(le)

Wordle is a fun application, and it’s easy to understand the game’s engaging and competitive nature. Wordle is also fairly limited in function with the daily challenge providing most of the action. It gets to be a bore or a chore, as there aren’t a lot of further in-app options or directions. And the ads, my God, the ads. A 30-second ad popping up after almost every click is enough to drive away even the most hard-core players.

While it’s still unclear if Wordle can maintain its current popularity level, the game has certainly left a mark on the mobile gaming culture and provided a roadmap to success for further apps.

Topics
Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
Best Milwaukee Prime Day deals: sanders, drills, saws and more
Someone using the Milwaukee Orbit Sander in a warehouse.

Prime Day might be over but there continue to be great power tool deals going on. In particular, we're focusing on one of the most trusted power tool brands around with Milwaukee having some great discounts on power tools as well as its accessory range. If you're looking to spruce up your power tool collection for less, there's still time to grab these deals but you'll need to be fast. We can't see them sticking around for much longer now that Prime Day is behind us.
Best Milwaukee power tool Prime Day deals

You can't go wrong with any of these Milwaukee power tool Prime Day deals as you'll be getting products that are durable and efficient, so you'll be able to complete your projects faster without sacrificing safety. There are all kinds of power tools on sale during the shopping event, so if you need a particular tool or if you want to buy several of them at once, you wouldn't want to miss out on the discounted prices for Prime Day.

Read more
Best Fitbit Prime Day deals: Charge 3 is $45 off today
Woman stretching while wearing Fitbit Charge 5.

Even though Prime Day has ended you can still shop Prime Day deals, and the leftovers have some good savings in store for fitness enthusiasts. If you want an easy way to expand, upgrade, or create a fitness routine, buying one of the best fitness trackers can go a long way. You should start your search with what's left of the Fitbit Prime Day deals, as Amazon and other retailers still have some impressive Fitbit deals going. We've tracked down all of the best Fitbit Prime Day deals available at the moment, and you can find all of them below. Read onward for the details and don't hesitate to make a purchase if you see something you like, as these Fitbit deals have been popular among Prime Day shoppers.
Best Fitbit Prime Day deal
Fitbit Charge 3 -- $105, was $150

If you want a straightforward wearable device for monitoring your health, you should set your sights on the Fitbit Charge 3. It's capable of keeping track of various fitness metrics, including your heart rate, the calories that you burn, and the steps that you take. The fitness tracker will keep you on track with your goals through a daily dashboard that will send you reminders to stay active, hydrate, follow your sleep schedule, and other things that you need to commit to doing every day.

Read more
Watch these dark comedy shows for a twisted laugh
Give these shows a try if you want to laugh at misery and morbidity
Succession scene

 

TV is often used as an escape from the morbid reality of the real world we have to wake up to each day. Mass shootings, political upheaval, and financial inequality are just some of the issues on the collective mind of the populace, and entertainment can both reflect and deflect these topics in brilliant ways for us. Happy-go-lucky shows like Friends or Ted Lasso are simple and funny; these programs are pure distraction from the world. Sometimes, we want something with a little more realism and intrigue, though, a show with commentary on life's troubles, but without the burden of getting bogged down in a depressive state.

Read more