Wordle: New York Times buys popular word game for ‘seven figure’ sum

The Wordle game  (AFP via Getty Images)
The Wordle game (AFP via Getty Images)

The New York Times has purchased the popular word game Wordle for a sum “in the low seven figures”, the company said.

The game, where players have six guesses to find the five-letter word of the day, has proven a surprise hit since it was released by Brooklyn-based, British software engineer Josh Wardle in October.

Millions are now estimated to play the game daily, in which squares light up a different colour depending on whether letters are in the correct place in the word or not.

In a company statement, the publisher said the game would remain “free to play for new and existing players, and no changes will be made to its gameplay” as of the time of its move to the New York Times.

Wordle will now join the New York Times’s ‘Games’ section, which it said was a “key part” of a strategy to drive subscriptions.

Mr Wardle, who initially created the game for his partner who enjoys word puzzles, said he was “in awe” of the numbers who regularly play his game.

He said in a statement: “It has been incredible to watch a game bring joy to so many, and I feel so grateful for the personal stories some of you have shared with me - from Wordle uniting distant family members, to provoking friendly rivalries, to supporting medical recoveries.

Wordle game (Wordle / Josh Wardle)
Wordle game (Wordle / Josh Wardle)

“On the flip side, I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a little overwhelming. After all I’m just one person and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to be a great experience for everyone”.

He said that he has “long admired” the New York Times’s approach to its games, and that he would be working with the company to ensure players’ streaks are preserved in the move.

Some players of the game reacted with disappointment to the news, with one writing on social media: “I was waiting for our Wordle fun to be ruined by a big company, just like everything else. And here it is. It was nice while it lasted.”

However, others have praised Mr Wardle for making money off his popular creation. One said: “Today’s Wordle: MONEY. Good for Josh Wardle!”