New York Times becomes new owner of hit word game Wordle

As if being one of the world’s leading newspapers was not enough, The New York Times also aims to dominate in other territories, particularly word games, after buying the hit word-guessing game Wordle

Last Monday, the 132-time Pulitzer recipient broadsheet announced its acquisition of the explosively viral online puzzle through an article released on the company’s online website. The deal, according to the newspaper giant, reached “in the low seven figures” and “would initially remain free for existing and new players.”

Released in October of last year by software engineer Josh Wardle via his website as a gift to his partner, the online game took the world by storm thanks to the majority of its users sharing their results on social media. It amassed millions of players who guess the same word per day as their way to destress after a hard day’s work. (Read: Start ’em young: Research says gaming may reduce depression in boys)

Achieving its current global status as the leading online world game, it became a competitor of The New York Times’ very own crossword game.

In a statement released via Twitter, Wardle said that running the game has been “a little overwhelming”, considering that he is the lone developer of the game which has millions of daily players, hence the sale. 

“I’ve long admired the NYT’s approach to their games and the respect with which they treat their players,” Wardle said in the statement. “Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.” 

Now with Wordle in their arsenal, The Times will look to gain more subscriptions to their current one million game subs. The puzzle will be added to their list of word games such as Spelling Bee, The Mini, and the ever-famous The Crossword. 

The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world,” a company statement released shortly after the announcement said. 

“New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy. Our games already provide original, high-quality content and experiences every single day. Wordle will now play a part in that daily experience, giving millions more people around the world another reason to turn to The Times to meet their daily news and life needs,” the statement added. 

Of course, once it became a global phenomenon, the game was quickly copied by other developers who sought to capitalize on the game. The official site, however, still remains the same, but now redirects to The Times’ game website

Wordle is a daily word game that lets players guess a 5-letter hidden word. With six chances per game, the letters that comprise each hidden word get colored feedback. Boxes will turn green if you get the right letter in the right spot; turn yellow if you guess the right letter but in the wrong spot, or gray if the letter is not in the word at all.

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