The New York Times acquires Wordle game


Wally Gobetz | Flickr

Amanda Salazar, Editor-in-Chief

The New York Times Co. bought the popular word game Wordle on Jan. 31 from the game’s creator, Josh Wardle, for a price “in the low seven figures,” according to an article from The New York Times.

“The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world,” a statement from the company reads in part. “New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy.”

Wardle, a Brooklyn software engineer, created Wordle with his partner Palak Shah, intending the company name to be a pun on his own name, in October 2021 as an advertisement-free website.

Wordle is a once-a-day letter game in which users try to figure out the word of the day by guessing letters. Each letter turns either green, yellow or grey to signal to the player that the letter is either correctly placed, in the word but in a different location or not in the word at all, respectively.

Its popularity started out small, as the game only had about 90 individual users on Nov. 1. However, by the middle of November, the game grew to have about 300,000 users. When The New York Times purchased it, Wordle had millions of users a day.

The acquisition is part of The New York Times’ effort to reach 10 million digital subscriptions by the year 2025. As part of this goal, the company has created different types of subscriptions, so users can choose what to subscribe to.

In addition to the regular digital subscription, to the online version of The New York Times and to the print version of the newspaper, the company also created a mobile game app called Games and a recipes app called Cooking, both of which come with their own subscriptions.

Wordle will join The New York Times’ Games app, though the company said that it will be keeping the newly acquired game free for now. Games has more than a million subscribers, according to the company.

Games offers English language-related games such as The Times’ crossword, Tiles and Vertex, Spelling Bee and Letter Boxed.

Wardle actually said that he was inspired to create Wordle from playing Spelling Bee and crosswords with Shah during the pandemic.

“New York Times Games play a big part in its origins, and so this step feels very natural to me,” Wardle was quoted as saying in the company’s statement.