Has this ever happened to you? You create a fun word game for you and your partner to play. It becomes a social media phenomenon and you wind up selling it to a major newspaper to the tune of seven figures. It’s an all-too-common story and now it’s happened to Josh Wardle, inventor of the game sensation that almost bears his name, Wordle.
As per The New York Times, the Gray Lady itself has scooped up the game, which Wardle initially created for his partner. After it proved popular with friends and relatives as well, he made it public in October of last year. It only took a couple months to take the internet by storm. By the beginning of 2022, it was all over Twitter, thanks to a function that allows players to share how they fared, representing by an array of green, yellow, and gray blocks that may look indecipherable and alien to non-players.
The game play is simple: Players have six chances to guess a five-letter word. The game tells you which letters you got correct: yellow if it’s one of the letters but in the right space, green if it’s the right letter and in the right space. (It’s nothing but gray letters if all five are wrong.)
Wordle’s sale adds to NYT’s ever-growing database of word games, some of which are collected on its crossword app, which also features the also popular game Spelling Bee, where players try to make words out of seven letters (one of which must be in every word). The paper is hoping to amass some 10 million subscribers by 2025.
Will Wordle remain free? For now it will, meaning it won’t go behind the publication’s massive paywall, which also protects its crossword and other word games. Since Wardle made Wordle public, it went from 90 daily users to 300,000 in mid-November to millions nowadays. It’s not even four months old and already it’s inspired scores of copycats.
Because Wordle stats sharing has become a staple of social media — some may call it a scourge — it was inevitable that news of its sale earned some strong reactions on Twitter.
I love Wordle but felt like the craze was going to die down in the next couple of months anyways, good for him in getting paid https://t.co/fcnRkdfE9d
— actioncookbook (@actioncookbook) January 31, 2022
Shit, now my access to Wordle is going to be determined by three guys in a diner in Ohio
— RadicalLeftLunaticHat (@Popehat) January 31, 2022
Welp. It was fun while it lasted. https://t.co/lnxpHmWxIK
— bekka supp (@valhallabckgirl) January 31, 2022
The New York Times just bought Wordle. Now I’ve heard of “I’d like to buy a vowel,” but this is ridiculous! latina milf compilation
— reply didn't get courtesy faved so i went psycho (@boring_as_heck) January 31, 2022
I'm glad the wordle guy got paid for making something really nice. But I'm sad the thing that I like is, once again, being ingested by a massive media company.
— dongwon 송동원 (@dongwon) January 31, 2022
assume the price negotiation process for wordle was like
— Ariel Edwards-Levy (@aedwardslevy) January 31, 2022
rip wordle 2022-2022
— srečko kosovel fan (@mcmansionhell) January 31, 2022
NYT buying Wordle is the puzzle equivalent of an out-of-touch politician instantly killing the appeal of a pop culture thing.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) January 31, 2022
But until Wordle migrates over to NYT’s coffers, it can be accessed here.