Developer(s) Gabriele Cirulli
Publisher(s) Solebon LLC
Platform(s) Browser, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, Android, Apple TV, KaiOS, Teslatari
Release Web: 9 March 2014
2048 has been described as similar to the app Threes released a month earlier. Cirulli, the creator, himself described 2048 as being "conceptually similar" to Threes.
2048 is played on a gray 4×4 grid, with numbered tiles that slide when a player moves them using the four arrow keys. Every turn, a new tile will randomly appear in an empty spot on the board with a value of either 2 or 4. Tiles slide as far as possible in the chosen direction until they are stopped by either another tile or the edge of the grid. If two tiles of the same number collide while moving, they will merge into a tile with the total value of the two tiles that collided. The resulting tile cannot merge with another tile again in the same move. Higher-scoring tiles emit a soft glow.
If a move causes three consecutive tiles of the same value to slide together, only the two tiles farthest along the direction of motion will combine. If all four spaces in a row or column are filled with tiles of the same value, a move parallel to that row/column will combine the first two and last two.
The game is won when a tile with a value of 2048 appears on the board, hence the name of the game. After reaching the 2048 tile, players can continue to play (beyond the 2048 tile) to reach higher scores. When the player has no legal moves (there are no empty spaces and no adjacent tiles with the same value), the game ends.
A scoreboard on the upper-right keeps track of the user's score. The user's score starts at zero, and is increased whenever two tiles combine, by the value of the new tile. As with many arcade games, the user's best score is shown alongside the current score.
19-year-old Cirulli created the game in a single weekend as a test to see if he could program a game from scratch; he was surprised when his game received over 4 million visitors in less than a week, especially since it was just a weekend project. "It was a way to pass the time", he said. The game is free to play, Cirulli having said that he was unwilling to make money from "something that he didn’t invent". He released a free app version of the game for iOS and Android in May 2014.
In general, most players will keep the tile with the highest value in the corner. They then add tiles sliding into the biggest tile to make higher tiles.
2048 became a hit, peaking at #44 on the Apple App Store. The game has been described by the Wall Street Journal as "almost like Candy Crush for math geeks", and Business Insider called it "Threes on steroids".
As the source code is available, many additions to the original game, including a score leaderboard, an undo feature, and improved touchscreen playability have been written by other people. All are available to the public.Spinoffs have been released online, as apps and for the Nintendo 3DS, and include versions with elements from the Doge meme, Doctor Who, Flappy Bird and Tetris; there has also been a 3D version and versions with bigger or smaller grids. Cirulli sees these spinoffs as "part of the beauty of open source software" and does not object to them "as long as they add new, creative modifications to the game". In 2014, an unofficial clone of the game was published in the iOS app store by Ketchapp, monetized with advertising. There has also been a Doctor Who spinoff of the game.
Comparisons To Other Games
2048 has been compared to Flappy Bird by several commentators. Both games' success led to clones being created, and both games have been described as viral and addictive. When asked if he was concerned that his situation would end up as stressed as that of Nguyễn Hà Đông, the creator of Flappy Bird, Cirulli said that he had "already gone through that phase" on a smaller scale, and that once he had decided against monetizing 2048, he "stopped feeling awkward." It has also been compared to the app Threes and 1024. Cirulli, the creator, described 2048 as a clone of Veewo Studios' app 1024.