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Mobile tech firm wordle is now in the hands of mobile tech firm AppLovin

Mobile tech firm wordle: is now in the hands of mobile tech firm AppLovin

When the web game Wordle went viral, an older mobile game with the same name started getting a lot of downloads because iPhone users thought it was the web game that was making the news. Now, Steven Cravotta, who made the iOS game Wordle!, has made money off of this mistaken identity. In an undisclosed deal, he sold his game to mobile marketing firm and game maker AppLovin.

Neither AppLovin nor Cravotta would say anything about the terms of the deal, but AppLovin said that its studio, Lion Studios Plus, now runs the iOS app Wordle! A representative for Cravotta said, “Steven can’t say anything about the deal right now.”


You may have heard of the popular online game Wordle, which The New York Times later bought. However, you may have missed the news earlier this year that a mobile game with the same name was getting a lot of attention on the App Store. The WSJ reported at the time that Cravotta was surprised to find that a game he made as a teenager was suddenly being downloaded 40,000 times per day, up from just 10 downloads per day the month before.

It turned out that iPhone users who were looking for the Wordle game that everyone was talking about had gone to the App Store and downloaded Cravotta’s game instead. The Wordle! game that Cravotta made was similar to the one that everyone was playing online. He said he made it when he was a teenager because he wanted to make a game for kids that would challenge people’s minds. But the app didn’t catch on. Cravotta promoted it for around half a year, he says, before deciding to move on to other things.

“It just sat in my developer account for a long time, getting maybe one or two downloads a day for six years, until all this crazy stuff happened,” Cravotta tells TechCrunch. In 2022, though, the downloads of the mobile game kept going up because of how popular the web game was. Cravotta says, correcting earlier estimates, that there were more than 40,000 downloads. “At one point, there were as many as a hundred thousand downloads,” he says.

Paid ads and in-app purchases brought in money for the mobile game. Cravotta could have changed the game to make even more money from the rise in users, but he didn’t. Instead, he left it alone. I just let it run and do what it wanted to do,” he says.

The mobile game was downloaded about 18.9 million times, according to data from Sensor Tower. Most of the installs (> 99.6%) happened after the web game went viral, on January 12, 2022, when the most downloads happened. The company said that the game has been downloaded 13.7 million times since February 12, 2022. This is about 72% of all the times it has been downloaded since April 2016, when it first came out. Even though it’s not the game people were looking for, it has been able to keep some gamers’ attention.

As of the first quarter of 2018, the iOS game is still the No. 19 mobile game in the U.S., based on the number of average monthly active users. It is right behind bigger games like “Among Us” and just ahead of Minecraft and PUBG Mobile. Cravotta could have just sat back and cashed checks, and no one would have blamed him, but he wanted to do more with his money.

In February, Cravotta reached out to Josh Wardle, the creator of the popular web game that had helped his own become so popular. He then said that he would give $50,000 of the money he made from his Wordle! game to a charity that he and Wardle had both agreed on: Boost Oakland, an Oakland tutoring center.

Cravotta, who is 24 years old, says, “I think my generation really wants to work together to make the world a better place instead of fighting with each other.” “Josh and I could have fought over this in a million different ways. Instead, we all worked together and did something great.”

What’s interesting, though, is that the game’s publisher account was changed from Cravotta to Lion Studios Plus, which is owned by AppLovin, on February 16, 2022. This means that the actual purchase probably happened before that date. The $50,000 donation, on the other hand, became known after Cravotta tweeted about it on February 24, 2022.

When asked if the donation might have been paid for by an AppLovin purchase instead of just Wordle’s earnings, Cravotta wouldn’t say. He couldn’t say anything about the deal, how much money the game made, or even if he was under an NDA for the AppLovin agreement. AppLovin also refused to comment, saying only that Lion Studios was bringing Wordle! to millions of mobile players around the world and that the game was “exclusive to mobile devices.”

Sensor Tower estimates Wordle! has generated close to $3 million to date.

Cravotta still works full-time at an ad agency, but he says that after the Wordle! craze, he has moved on to a new side project. Now, he is making an app called PuffCount, which is meant to help people stop vaping. Now, 200,000 people have downloaded the app, and it’s being advertised on TikTok, where the account has 90,000 followers and 50 million views.

The developer is glad that what happened with Wordle! has given him the chance to promote this project, which he sees as “an opportunity to help people live healthier lives.” I’m really happy that I was able to donate $50,000. “I’m really proud to have this platform to encourage young entrepreneurs to bet on themselves,” says Cravotta.

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