Wordle Sold To New York Times, Will Remain Free “Initially”

It’s been a big month for acquisitions, and another one has just been announced. The New York Times has bought Wordle, the viral daily word game. Creator Josh Wardle says he is working with the Times to move the game over to the NYT site, where it will “initially” remain free, with your current win streaks and other records intact.

According to a report from the NYT, the purchase was made in the “low seven figures.” It also said it will initially remain free to new and existing players, but it also noted that this is part of its strategy to grow its digital subscriptions to 10 million by the year 2025. The game currently has millions of daily players.

“I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a little overwhelming,” Wardle said in a statement. “After all, I’m just one person, and it’s important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone.” He said he has “long admired” the NYT’s approach to games.

The New York Times switched to a digital subscription model in 2011 and has been seeking ways to attract subscribers, in contrast to the ad-based print business model. Part of that includes selling services like NYT Cooking for recipes and NYT games. The games division includes the daily crossword, Spelling Bee, as well as new logic and word games like Letter Boxed and Vertex.

Wardle has said in interviews, including one with the Times, that he made Wordle for his partner due to their interest in the Times crossword and Spelling Bee. To date, the game has offered no microtransactions or monetization, despite others’ attempts to capitalize on its popularity.

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