If your first waking moments are spent making a fresh list of five-letter words, then you already know the allure of the internet’s hottest viral word game: Wordle.
Since it first launched in October, Wordle has drawn in millions of daily players who desperately try to guess one new five-letter word each day in no more than six attempts. Even if you haven’t played Wordle, it’s likely your social media feeds have been flooded with yellow, green and gray emoji squares from Wordle players broadcasting their daily results.
Designed by Brooklyn-based software engineer Josh Wardle, Wordle had only 90 players on Nov. 1, a month after launching, but that number skyrocketed into the millions by the end of January.
Despite Wordle’s lack of advertisements and Wardle not charging fans to play his game, the creator has already made a bundle from the side project’s viral popularity. He recently sold Wordle to The New York Times for a price in the low-seven figures. While the deal leaves the game’s ad-free, free-to-play future up in the air, one thing remains clear — people are hooked.
Whether you’ve personally joined the ranks of the Wordle-obsessed or not, chances are you know more than a few people who have. Friends, colleagues, family members and acquaintances are sharing their daily Wordle results, bonding over their triumphs and pitfalls.
But why do people love the game so much? Experts weigh in on the reasons behind the latest virtual phenomenon.
Anticipation and a sense of belonging
There’s no doubt that the social aspect of Wordle, the ability to easily share your own results — on social media, via text message, or over email — and also see how quickly others guessed the daily term, has been a huge factor driving the game’s rapid ascension.
“I don’t know about your Twitter feed, but mine is just blown up with these visual images of Wordle, and so the fact that it’s so shareable is one reason that has exploded, for sure,” Kelli Dunlap, a clinical psychologist and game design professor at American University, tells CNBC Make It.
Douglas Gentile, a psychology professor at Iowa State University, tells CNBC Make It that Wordle actually perfectly fulfills what he calls the “ABC of human needs.”
“A is …….