The New York Times Co., which continues to seek opportunities to strengthen its offerings beyond the traditional news sector, has acquired the popular online game Wordle.
The precise value of the deal was not disclosed, but the official announcement put it in the “seven figures”. That puts it in stark contrast to media company’s $550 million purchase of digital sports outlet The Athletic earlier this month.
Wordle, a website-only word game, has seen a resurgence in popularity thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms. Since the Time acquisition, the game remains free and there are no changes to the way it is played.
The transaction is the latest in a series of moves by The Times as it seeks to reach its goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025. Other game offerings, including the signature crossword game, are available on subscription apps.
Games are an integral part of Time readers’ experience since the first crosswords appeared in 1942. The company said its games had been played more than 500 million times in 2021, and in December it hit the one million subscription milestone. games.
Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, took Wordle public in October 2021. Its growth since then has been meteoric. The deal announcement said 90 people had played the game on November 1. Nearly two months later, 300,000 people had played it. Now the puzzle has millions of daily players.
“If you’re like me, you probably wake up every morning thinking about Wordle and savoring those precious moments of discovery, surprise and fulfillment. The game did what so few games have done: it captured our collective imagination and brought us all that little bit closer,” said Jonathan Knight, CEO of The New York Times Games. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to become the new home and proud stewards of this magical game, and are honored to help bring Josh Wardle’s beloved creation to more solvers in the months to come.”
Wardle credited The Times with the games division for helping to inspire its eponymous title. “I have long admired The Times’ approach to the quality of its games and the respect with which it treats its players,” he said. “Their values are aligned with mine on these issues.”