The New York Times Just Bought Wordle

The New York Times Just Bought Wordle

Your favourite green and yellow squares now have a new home.

The popular word-guessing game Wordle now belongs to crossword kings, The New York Times.

In a The New York Times article on the acquisition of Wordle by The New York Times, The New York Times journalist details The New York Times’ plan for the game.

“What’s nice about Wordle is how simple, pleasant and attractive the computer interface is,” they quote Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times Crossword, as saying.

“Limiting players to six guesses per day and rationing out one puzzle per day adds excitement to the solving process … it’s a great puzzle, and it doesn’t take long to play, which make it perfect for our age when people have short attention spans.”

If you’ve read this far and somehow have no idea what I’m talking about, Wordle is a word-guessing game. It’s pretty simple, you have to guess the five letter word before you run out of space.

If you’ve been on any social media platform in the past two months, you’ve probably seen a grid of green, yellow and black squares, this is how players share their results. The game is refreshed once a day and it’s pretty darn addictive.

It’s a free online game, created by Josh Wardle (get it) for his crossword-loving partner in October. As of January 10, the game had 2.7 million players. Your writer included. Basically, if you love Wordle, you really love Wordle.

Scant on the details of the transaction, which mind you is the latest in a string of gaming-adjacent acquisitions already in 2022, all The New York Times is saying is that Wordle was scooped up “for an undisclosed price in the low seven figures”.

Now, of course, the game is owned by a corporation worth around $9 billion.

Unlike much of the content on the Times’ website, Wordle will begin its life as a part of the publication’s money-making strategy as a free game that won’t be behind the Times paywall. But the company’s press release doesn’t exactly inspire confidence: “At the time it moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players, and no changes will be made to its gameplay,” it reads. Since there will presumably be ample time after Wordle moves under the Times umbrella, that leaves a lot of opportunities for the game to become markedly not-free.

Of course, with Wordle inspiring unnumbered copycats that are lining the pockets of people who are not Josh Wardle, a cynic would say that this tragic turn of events was inevitable. Anything good that appears online will eventually be purchased, monetised and reduced to a profitable husk of its former self.

This article has been updated since it was first published. Andrew Couts contributed to this post.

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