🟩What is Wordle? - The Hustle
The Hustle

🟩What is Wordle?

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Today’s rundown:

  • Wordle: The daily word game that’s going viral.
  • Hot job: Business is booming for OnlyFans consultants.
  • Decentralized: The future of gaming, explained.
  • Around the web: How to undo embarrassing typos, a 200-lb mushroom haul, and more wild internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

Wordle is the viral daily word game you’re about to get addicted to

Any hopeless romantic can give their partner chocolate or flowers as a sign of affection – not everyone can build them a viral daily word game.

Josh Wardle built Wordle, his nearly eponymous creation, as an antidote for his partner’s pandemic boredom, and released it to the public last October.

On Nov. 1, the game had 90 players – today, it’s exceeded 300k daily players, per The New York Times.

So what is it?

The rules of Wordle are simple. Every day players get 6 attempts to guess a 5-letter word. With each guess, they get color-coded feedback:

  • Green means a letter is both in the word and in the correct place
  • Yellow means a letter is in the word, but not the correct place
  • Gray means the letter is not in the word

Wordle isn’t the 1st game to go viral overnight

In 2014, Flappy Bird experienced rocket-ship growth after a shoutout from YouTuber PewDiePie. Within the next month, it was downloaded 50m+ times and earned ~$50k per day through ads.

HQ Trivia, the social trivia elimination game, hit 1m concurrent players within months of launching, and pulled in ~$10m in ad revenue in 2018.

But Wordle is different

The game has no revenue stream, data collection, or pushy growth hacks. It was only after players started sharing results organically that Wardle built a share button.

He believes part of the reason for rapid growth is the game’s 1-word-per-day limit, which keeps players coming back for more without exhausting their attention, per NYT.

The catch?

There are only so many 5-letter words (~12k to be exact).

Since many are too obscure for any non-spelling bee champs to guess, Wardle whittled the list to 2.5k feasible words, which gives the game ~6.5 years of runway in its current form.

Want to play? Test your skills on today’s Wordle.

SNIPPETS

Target’s new private label, Brightroom, includes 450+ home organization and storage solutions. #ecommerce-retail

John Deere revealed its new fully autonomous tractor at CES 2022. It has 12 cameras and can be controlled via smartphone. #clean-energy

Robot helper: The Retriever by Labrador Systems is a simple self-driving shelf designed to help people with disabilities do tasks around the house. #emerging-tech

Yikes: A recent hack that used leaked user names and passwords hit 1m+ accounts across 17 companies, including retailers and delivery services. #privacy

OpenSea’s 2 founders are now worth ~$2.2B each following a new funding round. Apparently, this makes them the 1st NFT billionaires. #fintech-crypto

Wow: HBO and HBO Max reached 73.8m subscribers last year, possibly thanks to the release of big films like “Dune” and “The Matrix Resurrections.” #big-tech

Guess how much time people saved collectively in 2020 by not commuting to work? 23k lifetimes… 23k!!! #hustle-picks

Wow

The latest hot job: OnlyFans consultant

OnlyFans is one wild business.

The 5-year-old platform where (mostly) sex workers get paid for posting photos and videos, has grown to 150m+ registered users and 1.5m+ creators.

For these creators, OnlyFans has been a boon: The platform, which takes a 20% cut of the subscription payments workers receive, now collectively pays out ~$5B to models per year.

In August, OnlyFans said it would ban sexually explicit content. It quickly backtracked on the move after public outrage, but not before one creator used it as an opportunity to make a competing platform and sell $100k worth of jarred farts.

All this action has spawned a burgeoning industry of OnlyFans consulting.

Just as adult creators are minting money on OnlyFans, so are the marketing specialists who help them gain traction, and we went to take a closer look.

Read the full feature →
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Dungeons & Tokens

A big video game company enters the metaverse

Square Enix is behind some huge video game franchises, including “Final Fantasy,” “Dragon Quest,” “Tomb Raider,” and “Kingdom Hearts.”

Recently, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda wrote a letter revealing the company’s metaverse aspirations to incentivize people to “play to contribute.”

“Play to earn” is a current crypto gaming trend…

… in which people play games to earn crypto or NFTs, instead of just playing for fun.

For example, “Axie Infinity” is a game with ~2m daily players who collect and battle Axies (creatures that look like axolotls). Each Axie is an NFT and you need 3 to start, which could cost you $1k+, per Forbes.

But to recoup costs, players can earn crypto through gameplay and by selling Axies and items.

“Play to contribute” relies on user-generated content

UGC is already a thing on platforms like Roblox, but Matsuda writes that there isn’t as much of it across gaming as he’d expect because there’s no incentive to make it.

Square Enix wants to build “token economies” in games to motivate users. The company might also release its own token in the future.

This vision – “decentralized gaming” – is a departure from the typical business of studios making games and players buying and playing them.

Something similar is already happening with “Loot,” a nonexistent game built around nondescript NFTs. (We covered that here.)

Maybe the next hot gig is… “custom video game quest maker”?

AROUND THE WEB

⛸ On this day: In 1994, one of the biggest scandals in sports history occurred when an attacker clubbed figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the leg, orchestrated by the ex-husband of Tonya Harding, Kerrigan’s rival.

🤓 Useful: Slapdash is an app that connects commonly used apps, like Slack, Dropbox, and Trello. You can use it to search across them or speed up workflows.

😳 How to: You just sent an email with an embarrassing typo. Here’s how to undo it.

🍌 Art:Banana Craze” is an online exhibition that shows how the fruit has been used in Latin American art.

🍄 Wow: Two foragers found 200+ pounds of chanterelle mushrooms in Northern California. They decided to give away the excess, but their yield was worth ~$4k.

🐱 Aww: And now, a woman who crochets hats for her cat.

Tweet of the day

It’s everywhere. (Source: Twitter)

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