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'The New York Times' buys Wordle

The New York Times has purchased the online word game Wordle has that took off last fall, with people posting their daily scores.
Brandon Bell
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The New York Times has purchased the online word game Wordle has that took off last fall, with people posting their daily scores.

The New York Times has acquired Wordle, a simple word guessing game, for an undisclosed price in the low-seven figures, the newspaper announced Monday.

The game, created by Josh Wardle, will initially continue to be free to play.

Wordle, which was released in October 2021, is a daily word puzzle that has soared in popularity, amassing millions of daily players within months.

To play the game, players have six tries to guess a five-letter word. Many users choose to share their results — a grid of green, yellow and black boxes — on social media.

Wardle, who named the game after his last name, released Wordle to the public in October 2021. He initially created the game for his partner, who he'd known was a fan of word games.

On Nov. 1, the game had 90 players. Nearly two months later, the figure ballooned to 300,000, according to the release from The New York Times.

"The game has gotten bigger than I ever imagined," Wardle wrote in a statement on Twitter. "I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been a little overwhelming. After all, I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone."

Wardle said he was pleased to pass the reins to the Times, adding that the news outlet's own games influenced "the story of Wordle."

Aside from the crossword, the Times introduced its own selection of games in 2014: the Mini crossword, Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed, Tiles and Vertex.

"We could not be more thrilled to become the new home and proud stewards of this magical game, and are honored to help bring Josh Wardle's cherished creation to more solvers in the months ahead," said Jonathan Knight, general manager for games at the Times.

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