NYT acquires Wordle for a seven-digit $ figure

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The New York Times announced on January 31 that it acquired Wordle, a game where once a day players get six chances to guess a five-letter word for an “undisclosed price in the low seven figures.” The Times already operates popular games like crosswords and Spelling Bee. In December, the Times crossed 1 million subscriptions to its games and its games were played more than 500 million times last year. The Times recently acquired the sports news website The Athletic for $550 million adding 1.2 million subscribers.

Wordle, named after the creator Josh Wardle is now played by millions just four months after the game launched onto the Internet. Wardle who is based in Brooklyn graduated from Royal Holloway, the University of London in 2006, created the game to play with his partner Palak Shah. According to the Times, the game, which was launched in October had only 90 players in early November. Wardle earlier said that releasing only one game a day was intentional, to avoid the addiction that comes from other games.

By early January, there were more than 300,000, and now millions play it daily, fueled in part by the ease of sharing spoiler-free results on social media specifically on Twitter. A feature enables users to share their performance, with rows of five bricks indicating how close they were to guess the correct word. A green brick indicates that the letter is correct and in the exact location; a yellow brick indicates that the letter appears in the word but in a different place, and a grey or black brick indicates that the letter does not appear anywhere in the word. These analog brick layouts have been endlessly shared and have driven millions of tweets.

β€œNew York Times Games play a big part in its origins,” Mr Wardle said in the company’s statement, β€œand so this step feels very natural to me.” Wardle announced on Twitter that the game will be free when moved to the Times and he is working with Times to ensure wins and streaks are preserved. ‘I feel smart when I get a Wordle, even though I made the game,’ Wardle told TechCrunch last month.