The New York Times has purchased the popular word-guessing game Wordle from its creator, software engineer Josh Wardle, promising that the game will temporarily remain free to play. The publication bought the game for a sum in “the low seven figures,”
Wordle is a simple browser-based game that offers players six chances to guess a five-letter word. Only one word can be guessed at a time, and players are not given additional chances after their six guesses.
The New York Times says, the purchase of Wordle “reflects the growing importance of games … in the company’s quest to grow digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025.” While the end goal is likely to monetize Wordle, the NYT said that it will “initially remain free to new and existing players.”
In a statement Monday, Wardle said he has “reached an agreement with The New York Times for them to take over running Wordle going forward.” Wardle added that he was working with the New York Times to ensure that previous wins and streaks are preserved.
“If you’ve followed along with the story of Wordle,” he wrote. “You’ll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels very natural to me.”
An update on Wordle pic.twitter.com/TmHd0AIRLX
— Josh Wardle (@powerlanguish) January 31, 2022
Wordle quickly became a viral hit following its October 2021 launch. Users can share their guesses, with rows of bricks representing individual letters in a guess and whether they appeared in the actual word or not. This is making the game popular in today’s social world.
The game’s success has resulted in a large number of copycat apps on the Apple App Store, with one developer being so bold as to steal the Wordle name. Apple eventually removed all of the clones from the App Store.