New York Times buys viral game Wordle for seven-figure sum | Games
The New York Times has acquired viral word game Wordle for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, the publisher announced Monday.
Created by a Reddit engineer and launched in October, Wordle gives players just six guesses to determine a five-letter word that changes every day. The soothing daily puzzle has become a hit since its launch, quickly attracting hundreds of thousands and then millions of players. Social media posts about his Game of the Day have become ubiquitous, along with screenshots of the game’s distinctive grid.
Josh Wardle, who created the game for his puzzle-loving partner, told The Guardian this month that he felt overwhelmed by the game’s viral success.
“It’s going viral, it’s not great, to be honest. I feel responsible for the players. I feel like I really owe it to them to make things work and make sure everything is running smoothly,” Wardle said.
At the same time, he says, “it’s not my full-time job and I don’t want it to become a source of stress and anxiety in my life.”
New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz praised Wordle as “a great puzzle” and noted, “It doesn’t take long to play, which makes it perfect for our age when people have a short attention span.”
Jonathan Knight, Managing Director of The New York Times Games, told a Times reporter, “The game did what so few games have done – it captured our collective imagination and brought us all a little closer together.
The rise of a “pleasant little daily puzzle” in the third year of a global pandemic has prompted many to reflect on the joys of an earlier, more innocent age of the internet.
It also fueled a small cottage industry of game optimization strategies, with mathematicians and linguistic experts poring over the best possible first guess.
“I think at this point in life – after a decade or so of a proliferative mode in the online idiom – there’s an urge to go back to an older, slower internet,” he wrote. American author Brandon Taylor in a recent newsletter. the game. Wordle, he said, “recreates a sense of scarcity in the digital space.”
Wardle said in a statement that he was “delighted” that The New York Times “will be stewards of the game going forward” and that he admired “the paper’s approach to games and the respect with which they treat their players”.
“This step feels very natural to me,” he wrote.
Some Wordle aficionados reacted to news of the acquisition with concerns that the newspaper would move the puzzle behind its wall of paid content.
“When the game moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players, and there will be no changes to its gameplay,” the paper promised, a commitment Wardle echoed in its statement.
Some reactions on social media remained skeptical: “I better not lose my streak when the game moves or there will be HELL to pay,” wrote one player on Twitter.
Wardle wrote in his statement that he was working with the Times “to ensure that your wins and streaks will be preserved.”