“The publisher of The New York Times revealed on Monday that it has purchased the popular word game Wordle for an unknown seven-figure price.
Wordle, which was developed by a Reddit programmer and debuted in October, gives users just six guesses to figure out a five-letter phrase that changes every day. Since its debut, the calming daily puzzle has proven popular, drawing swiftly hundreds of thousands, then millions, of players. Social media posts about its game of the day are very common, and screenshots of the game’s characteristic grid are also very common.
The New York Times Company has acquired the overnight sensation Wordle, which gives users six opportunities each day to identify a five-letter word.
The Brooklyn-based software programmer who created Wordle, Josh Wardle, was paid “in the low seven figures” to sell his company, according to The Times. According to the corporation, both new and existing gamers could play the game for free at first.
Wordle, whose name is a playful pun on the name of its creator, has experienced a remarkable ascent. It debuted in October on a basic, ad-free website and had 90 users on November 1st. According to a Times report, that figure increased to 300,000 by the middle of this month, and millions now regularly play the game.
Users can share their results using a feature, with rows of five bricks denoting how close they came to identifying the right word. For those not familiar: A green brick means the letter is right and exactly where it should be, a yellow brick means it appears in the word but in a different location, and a grey or black brick means it doesn’t appear anywhere in the word. Millions of tweets have been generated by these analogue brick arrangements, which have been continuously memed.
According to a press release from the firm, “The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person wishing to learn and participate with the world.” “A crucial component of the plan is New York Times Games.”
Since implementing a paywall in 2011, The Times’ business strategy has focused on convincing readers and users to purchase subscriptions. The vast majority of people access The Times’ content digitally. The core of the conventional newspaper business model is advertising.
The Times offers subscriptions for both its print edition and main mobile news app. It also provides subscriptions to Cooking, a recipe app, and, as of last year, Wirecutter, a product review website The Times acquired in 2016. These services are available for less money. The Times paid $550 million this month to acquire the 1.2 million subscribers that the sports news website The Athletic brings with it.
Millions of new subscribers have proven the business plan to be successful. The Times stated that it had approximately 8.4 million readers in a report on earnings from November. (It will disclose its upcoming earnings report on Wednesday.) The Times stated in December that there were more than one million subscribers for both Games and Cooking.
More than 500 million people played The Times’ games last year, including Letter Boxed, Tiles, and Vertex in addition to the crossword and Spelling Bee, the firm reported.
The Times’ crosswords and Spelling Bee activities during the pandemic, Mr. Wardle said to a Times reporter last month, “got really into” with his companion, so they started using Wordle.
According to a statement from the business, Mr. Wardle stated that “New York Times Games play a key part in its roots” and that “this step feels very natural to me.”
When the news of the acquisition broke, some Wordle enthusiasts expressed worry that the newspaper would relocate the puzzle behind its paywall.
Social media users’ responses varied. One participant tweeted, “I’d better not lose my streak when the game changes, or there will be HELL to pay.”
The Times and Wardle were collaborating “to make sure your wins and streaks would be preserved,” Wardle stated in his message”