Wordle, the hit online game in which once a day players have six chances to guess a five-letter word, has been acquired by The New York Times Company.
The purchase “reflects the growing importance of games, like crossword puzzles and Spelling Bee, in the company’s quest to grow digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025,” the publication said Monday.
Wordle was acquired from its creator, Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, for a price “in the seven figures”, the Times said. The company said the game will initially remain free for new and existing players.
“The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for anyone English-speaking seeking to understand and interact with the world,” a statement from the company read. “The New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy.”
Wardle said in a statement: “If you’ve followed Wordle’s story, you’ll know that The New York Times games played a big part in its origins, and so this step feels very natural to me…I have long admired The Times’ approach to the quality of its games and the respect with which it treats its players. Their values are aligned with mine on these issues and I am delighted that they will be stewards of the game in the future. .
Jonathan Knight, CEO of the New York Times Games, added in the statement: “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 a little closer together.
Knight added that Wordle “will have an exciting future with the help of a talented team of engineers, designers, editors and more, enhancing the user experience.”
Wardle issued a fuller statement to his Twitter followers on Monday:
“Since Wordle launched, I’ve been impressed with the response and the game has grown bigger than I ever imagined. On the other hand, it’s been a bit overwhelming. I’m just a person and it’s important to me that as Wordle grows it continues to provide a great experience for everyone. Given that, I’m incredibly happy to announce that I’ve reached an agreement with the New York Times for them to take over management of Wordle in the future.If you’ve followed Wordle’s history, you’ll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels natural to me. “I’ve long admired the NYT’s approach to its games and the respect with which it treats its players. Their values align with mine on these issues and I’m thrilled that they’ll be stewards of the game in the future. When the game will be transferred to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working on with them to make sure your wins and streaks are preserved. Thank you all.”
The Wordle game, which first launched to the public in October 2021, now has “millions” of daily players, who can currently share their daily results with friends via text message. The phenomenon has reached such a peak that it warranted an open cold skit for a recent edition of “SNL.” Watch SNL’s James Austin Johnson as Trump playing Wordle in the YouTube video below: