How 2048 Crushed Threes

2048 logo

What's in a name?

There's one simple reason why a clone, 2048 crushed Threes, an original game, and became massively popular (10,000,000 downloads vs. 10,000 downloads).  The reason?  Its name.

What rules of naming did Threes ignore?


Catchy Sound (Euphonics)

Say 2048.  Say Threes.  Say 2048.  It's obvious which one simply sounds, well, catchier.  Speaking of catchy, the book Catch 22 was originally going to be called Catch-18.  How did it end up as Catch 22?  You guessed it.  Euphonics.


Avoid Homophones

Threes sounds the same as "frees" and "freeze".  This might seem minor, until you consider that word of mouth is responsible for 36% of all mobile game downloads.  Being told "Check out the game Threes" in a conversation could easily lead many people to searching the app store for "frees" or "freeze".  And it doesn't help that (a) Threes isn't free, and (b) Threes rhymes with "fees".


Avoid Plurals + Lisp-sensitive Words

Threes is both a plural and a lisp-sensitive, due to the "S".


Shorter Is Better

2048 is four characters.  Threes  is six characters.  That might not sound like a big difference (They both got that rule right!). 2048 still wins, though.


Auto-correct Susceptible

2048 is four numbers.  Threes  is six letters.  That might not sound like a big deal.  Except that auto-correct and auto-suggest act on words, ignoring numbers, meaning that Threes, not being a common word, would likely be auto-corrected to "Trees".


Unique or Trendy

2048 is undeniably unique.  Threes is the name of a dice game.

(Side-note: An example of trendy is the game Only One, which happens to have the same name as a hit song by a South Korean k-pop band).


Multilingual = Universal

Numbers are the same in all languages that use the Roman alphabet.  Unlike Threes, 2048 is the same in German, French, Spanish, English, and 128 other languages.



Well, there you have it.  Sure, some may blame Threes' lack of success on the fact that 2048 is free, and Threes isn't, but in my eyes, it's all in the name.