Norwegian Wordfeud-founder likes his new job

The Norwegian who invented Wordfeud has made a fortune on his digital version of Scrabble. Only three weeks after the launch, the app earned him more money than his job as a software developer.


Back in 2010 Håkon Bertheussen, a recent graduate in Tromsø, knew nothing about apps, but found some user guides and helpful tips on the web and decided to develop an app for mobile phones and tablets, based on the popular game Scrabble.

The app was released on the market in August 2011, and after only three weeks Bertheussen was not only too busy to keep his day job, but made enough money to quit.

"It started when I got my first smart phone in April 2010," he explains to Aftenposten. He was curious about apps, and had always had an interest in Scrabble. The result was a game where people can play Scrabble with each other using their individual phones or tablets.

Although Bertheussen studied computer science at the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology and was used to handling computers in his first job, he had no idea that the app would become such a big success. "It was more about wanting and mastering," he explains.

Up until now, the app has been downloaded 16 million times. At this rate, Bertheussen could be making around NOK 100,000 each day, according to estimates. The future potential could be even bigger.

So far, versions of the game have been developed in English, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, French and Spanish. There are between four and five million users in Scandinavia, and the numbers are still increasing.

Soon there will also be a German version, and if it’s a success it could potentially translate into 20 million new players. Bertheussen’s company is also working on developing new platforms for Windows phones and Facebook. They have already developed a version for the iPad.

"I am sure we’ll reach a point where the popularity stalls, he tells Aftenposten. "But Wordfeud is probably more timeless than many other games, and can engage several different groups of the population."

If all else fails, his former employer has told him that he is welcome to return at any time. Most likely, at this rate, he never will.

(Aftenposten) (Photo Thor Nielsen)

Julie Ryland


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