In the beginning of 2022, nobody had heard of Wordle. By the end of Feb 2022, everybody has heard of it. What makes Wordle so wildly popular?
Wordle isn’t a new game – I played a version of it on the back-benches in my university classes. It isn’t hard to code into a website – an amateur developer could do that in a day. It doesn’t use technology that is native to 2022. It isn’t particularly more fun than most online games out there.
Yet, in one respect, Wordle stands apart. Its creators only publish 1 puzzle a day. Once you solve that puzzle, you have to wait an entire day for a new word. You can play it in a couple of minutes, and come back the next day for another 2 minute hit of pleasure. The game always keeps you on the hook.
The popularity of Wordle serves as a metaphor for two principles
- To make something a habit, design it so that you do a little bit everyday
- Scarcity is key to keep people coming back for more