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Wordle: Much Ado About Nothing?

This article is published in collaboration with Statista

by Felix Richter

Have you recently come across the word “knoll”? If so, chances are, you’re playing Wordle, an online word puzzle game that has become the latest social media craze. The game’s simple setup, the fact that there’s only one word per day and that it’s the same for everybody are all contributing factors to the game’s success. The game’s biggest trick, however, is that it enables people to share their own result on social media in a way that is unique and instantly recognizable to other players.

The game, created by software engineer Josh Wardle for him and his partner, became a viral hit in late December 2021 and the number of players exploded from 90 on November 1 to 300,000 on January 2 and more than 2 million a week later. Its omnipresence on Twitter in particular has helped the game become a global phenomenon. But how big is it really compared to other casual online games?

According to a survey conducted by Morning Consult, the game is not (yet) as big as its social media hype might suggest. While its growth from nothing to more than a million daily players is impressive, it cannot compare itself to casual classics such as Words with Friends or Candy Crush yet. The survey conducted between January 12 and 14 finds that 14 percent of U.S. adults play Wordle, compared to 46 percent who play Words with Friends and 52 percent who play Candy Crush at least occasionally.

As the following chart shows, all games’ audiences share a similar age structure, where usage is most widespread among 35- to 44-year-olds. Wordle trails its competitors in each age group but considering its current buzz, it seems like sky is the limit for the social media darling.

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