Wordle, the word game that rose to dizzying heights of popularity after creator Jason Wardle shared it with the public a few months ago, now belongs to the New York Times. In a tweet Monday, Wardle, a programmer who made the game for partner Palak Shah, said the game had gotten bigger than he ever imagined, adding that it's "not that much of a feat" since he created it for an audience of one. Wardle, a New York-based software engineer, said it "has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many," but it has also been "a little overwhelming." He said he had reached an agreement for the Times to take over the game. The company says it paid a price in the "low seven figures" and the game will remain free, for now.
Wardle said the step "feels very natural," since Shah's love of the Times' word puzzles inspired him to create Wordle. He thanked players for making Wordle an "unforgettable experience" and said he was working with the Times to make sure their winning streaks and other statistics were preserved. The Times says the game, which has millions of daily users, will be added to a portfolio of games that includes Spelling Bee. The newspaper says the buy is part of its plan to boost digital subscription numbers to 10 million by 2025. The company has made expanding its games and cooking subscriptions a key part of its strategy, reports the Washington Post.
The company says the migration to the Times' website will happen "very shortly." "We don't have set plans for the game's future," Times executive director Jordan Cohen tells CNN. "At this time, we're focused on creating added value to our existing audience, while also introducing our existing games to an all new audience that has demonstrated their love for word games." (Read more New York Times stories.)