Your favourite free word game and ours, Wordle, has just sold its soul to The New York Times. According to the Times, it was bought out for a price “in the low seven figures”, which is definitely a rich way of saying “a lot of fkn money”.
Creator of the game and software engineer Josh Wardle tweeted an update on the fate of the game on Tuesday morning.
“It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many,” he wrote.
“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.
“I am incredibly pleased to announce that I’ve reached an agreement with The New York Times for them to take over running Wordle going forward,” he continued.
“If you’ve followed along with the story of Wordle, you’ll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels very natural to me.”
In case you didn’t know, Wordle was originally created by Wardle (what a beautiful sentence to read out loud) for his wife, who wanted something to do after finishing the NYT crossword. And so, in came a game just for the two of them, which grew massively in popularity.
You can read the full statement from Wardle below.
An update on Wordle pic.twitter.com/TmHd0AIRLX
— Josh Wardle (@powerlanguish) January 31, 2022
This sale has created a lot of fear in the hearts of Wordle fans, who are now worried that their favourite daily game will become plagued with ads or locked behind a paywall.
However, the NYT has promised that the game will “initially” remain free. Does this mean we’ll have to fork out a bit of cash in the future? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Initially ? When will it become a paid one ? Alarming really.
— MoMa (@emkay007) January 31, 2022
On the bright side, it’s a good time to celebrate the ingenuity of Wardle. This man created a simple game for everyone by himself, and now gets to have a full-circle moment with the NYT, who inspired the game in the first place.
Oh, and he also has a bundle of cash “in the low seven figures” to boot as well. Hot stuff (for him).
Wordle maker gets a solid payout and can now focus on creating more cool things (if they want to) for people to enjoy.
Celebrate creators being successful; don’t resent their success.
— Alex Walker (@dippizuka) January 31, 2022
Meanwhile, Ars Technica writer Andrew Cunningham pointed out on Twitter that while it’s shocking that the New York Times dished out seven figures on Wordle and proceeded to call it “low”, they don’t pay their employees as much as they should.
A strike just to fork out $300K worth of raises when you can spend $1M on a free word game? Gross.
— Andrew Cunningham (@AndrewWrites) January 31, 2022
Anyway if you need me I’m gonna be playing Wordle. While it’s free, that is.