The New York Times buys popular word game Wordle

The New York Times announced on Monday the acquisition of the highly popular word game Wordle. The company said Wordle was acquired for an undisclosed price in the “low-seven figures”. 

Wordle, which gives players six tries to guess a five-letter mystery word, will join New York Times Games’s portfolio of puzzle games and will initially be free to play for new and existing players at the time it moves to The New York Times. 

The New York Times’ games, including The New York Times Crossword, the Mini crossword, Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed, Tiles, and Vertex, were played more than 500 million times in 2021, and in December, the company reached one million Games subscriptions. 

“If you’re like me, you probably wake up every morning thinking about Wordle, and savoring those precious moments of discovery, surprise and accomplishment. The game has done what so few games have done: It has captured our collective imagination, and brought us all a little closer together. We could not be more thrilled to become the new home and proud stewards of this magical game, and are honored to help bring Josh Wardle’s cherished creation to more solvers in the months ahead,” said Jonathan Knight, general manager for The New York Times Games. “As part of our portfolio of games, Wordle will have an exciting future with the help of a team of talented engineers, designers, editors and more, furthering the user experience.”

Wordle was released by Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, in October 2021 and exploded in popularity since then. 90 people played the game on November 1. Nearly two months later, 300,000 people played it. Now, the puzzle has millions of daily players.

Wardle said, “If you’ve followed along with the story of Wordle, you’ll know that New York Times Games play a big part in its origins, and so this step feels very natural to me. I’ve long admired The Times’s approach to the quality of their games and the respect with which they treat their players. Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”

Written by Maya Robertson

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