Wordle, the viral word game which offers players six chances to puzzle out a five-letter word, has been purchased by The New York Times to bolster their ever-expanding collection of brain-teasing games.
The New York Times Company left a blank space in place of the actual price, though they did say the purchase involved a number “in the low seven figures.”
The invention of Brooklyn engineer Josh Wardle, Wordle (yup, it’s a pun) rolled out last October. It had less than 100 users per day on November 1st, but by the middle of the month that number had ballooned to over 300,000.
Today it’s played by millions, with many choosing to post their results online using colored boxes to indicate the progression of their guesses — black or grey for misses, yellow for a right letter in the wrong place, and green representing a perfect match. By offering only one puzzle a day, Wordle has become the solo game that feels social, with people around the world tracking their own individual paths to the same word.
While the Times is known for some of the most elegant writing in journalism today, the business side lacks some of that finesse, releasing a bluntly ambitious statement: “The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English-speaking person seeking to understand and engage with the world,” the company said. “New York Times Games are a key part of that strategy.”
Worlde joins a roster that already includes perhaps the world’s most famous crossword puzzle, as well as fellow viral hit Spelling Bee. While Wordle will initially stay free, it should eventually land behind the New York Times Games paywall, a separate digital subscription that costs $5 a month or $40 a year.
The pickup is part of the Times plan to acquire 10 million digital subscribers by 2025. Currently, it has 8.4 million, with one million each coming from separate subscriptions for Games and Cooking.