I‘m sure you‘ve heard about Wordle, the super popular word game that‘s taking the world by storm. The short answer is: Yes, Wordle is 100% free to play online. But how did it get so big, and will it stay free forever? I‘ll explain everything you need to know about getting Wordle on your phone for free, avoiding fake copycat apps, and whether we can expect Wordle to remain ad-free in the future.
The Viral Rise of Wordle
Wordle was created in late 2021 by Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn. He originally made it for his word game-loving partner. But soon it spread to family and friends, then blew up on social media as people shared their Wordle scores.
Within just a few months, Wordle shot from 90 users to over 300,000 daily players. By January 2022, that number skyrocketed to over 2 million, according to the New York Times.
So what makes Wordle so addictive?
It‘s simple to learn, yet challenging to master. The rules are straightforward, but coming up with the right word in 6 tries can be suprisingly tough.
Sharing your results drives competition. The color-coded scores are perfect for boasting on social media.
Everyone plays the same word every day. It‘s a shared experience that feels social even when playing alone.
Streaks and stats add satisfying progression. You can track your performance over time.
No wonder Wordle went viral faster than any game since Fortnite or Candy Crush. Next, let‘s talk about how you can get in on the fun.
Playing Wordle on Mobile Devices for Free
Here‘s the thing – there is no official Wordle app. The game is only available on the web. But you can still easily play on your phone or tablet for free.
If you have an iPhone, just open Safari and go to nytimes.com/games/wordle. Then tap the Share button and "Add to Home Screen." This will put a Wordle icon on your home screen that opens the website in its own tab.
On Android, use Chrome and the same steps to add a shortcut to your home screen. Then it‘s just like having the app!
|Wordle Access||Supported Devices|
|Website||Any desktop or mobile browser|
|Home screen shortcut||iPhone, Android, tablets|
This gives you the real Wordle experience without any risk of imposter apps or copycats. Speaking of which…
Beware of Wordle Copycats and Clones!
Within weeks of Wordle‘s rise to fame, opportunistic developers flooded app stores with clones using the Wordle name. Most of these are cheap rip-offs designed solely to profit from Wordle‘s popularity.
The knockoff apps work just enough like the original to fool casual players. But most have annoying ads, collect your personal data, or even charge subscription fees.
Steer clear of any app calling itself "Wordle" on the App Store or Google Play. As covered above, the one true Wordle is only available on the official website.
Stick to playing online, and you don‘t have to worry about copycats profiting off of Josh Wardle‘s creation. The Wordle website is 100% free forever… for now at least.
Can We Expect Wordle to Stay Free?
In January 2022, Josh Wardle announced he had sold Wordle to The New York Times for a undisclosed price rumored to be in the "low-seven figures."
This came as a shock to fans who feared the classic New York Times paywall would lock Wordle behind a $10-40 monthly subscription fee. However, The Times has (so far) kept Wordle free with no ads, paywall, or subscription required.
But will this last forever? Let‘s compare Wordle‘s situation with other hit puzzle games:
Candy Crush: King launched Candy Crush Saga as a free mobile game in 2012, making revenue from in-app purchases and ads. Despite earning billions, King has kept the core Candy Crush gaming experience free.
Fortnite: Epic Games has kept Fortnite‘s core Battle Royale mode completely free since launch in 2017. In-game cosmetic purchases fund future development and esports tournaments with massive prize pools.
Pokémon GO: Niantic‘s mega-hit AR game has always been free to play, with in-app purchases for items and bonuses since 2016. Revenue topped $1 billion in 2020.
Like these giants, Wordle could easily follow the "freemium" model – gameplay is 100% free, but extras like themes, stat tracking, or early access to puzzles could be paid.
Based on The Times‘ handling of crossword puzzles and games like Spelling Bee, drastic changes seem unlikely in the near future. But only time will tell how long Wordle remains ad and paywall-free.
For now, go forth and enjoy Wordle every day, safely and freely! Just be sure to bookmark the real website on your phone rather than installing any shady imposter apps. Have fun!