Why is Wordle so popular?

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