Is ‘Wordle’ still popular?

wordle logo
Image via The New York Times online

You remember Wordle, right? It’s the interactive crossword puzzle game that took the world by storm earlier this year with its engaging daily word quiz that left users guessing. Ring any bells? That’s okay — turns out the vast majority of puzzle pupils forgot about the once-popular game, too. The brain-teasing game was initially launched back in October 2021 but grew immensely in popularity back in January 2022 — so much so that it was eventually purchased and repurposed by The New York Times.

The game was first created and published by software engineer Josh Wardle. According to Wardle, he initially launched the game for him and his partner to play for fun. After Wardle shared the game with his family and friends, he eventually posted the game on his website. By November 2021, the puzzle game, now made public, had garnered over two million daily players — much to the complete surprise and shock of Wardle.

In the following months, the game harbored a strong following, with players and grammar lovers united and together sharing their Wordle progress daily on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The prototype puzzler eventually went on to become one of the hottest online games of 2022 — but has it managed to maintain its flavor in pop culture?

by Keane Eacobellis

According to available data on Google Trends, Wordle has experienced a strong decline over the summer months. Unsurprisingly, its highest traction amongst puzzle players was during the stretch from January to March, but the decline really started to spread its wings and show during the month of May — and the decline has been trending downward ever since.

While it’s possible that folks were simply busier in the summer months due to warm weather and the opportunity for more outside activities, it still understandably hurts Wordle as a whole — seeing as less returning visitors to the game obviously means less revenue for The New York Times.

According to the data provided above, the numbers calculate that Wordle has dropped in popularity by a staggering 51 percent in a little over five months. Those numbers are certainly surprising, seeing as Wordle was at one point one of the most-discussed games on the web.

Why did Wordle lose its popularity?

Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Of course, you might be asking yourself why exactly the popularity surrounding Wordle seemed to fade. Like with any other viral sensation, eventually interest just wears off with the majority of people. In simpler terms, many folks just move on to the next shiny, viral topic or thing. During its popularity peak, a plethora of entertainment sites were posting clues and hints for each Wordle of the day, and you truly couldn’t go too long in passing conversations without someone mentioning the game.

In the present day, Wordle has become an ancient pastime for a lot of people. On the other hand, perhaps the upcoming autumn and winter months could be a positive sign for Wordle — seeing as most people will soon be stuck inside again and turn their attention spans to the puzzle game. After all, even forgotten viral trends have a way of gaining relevance again.