Updated: February 2, 2022 10:11:35 am
Wordle, the simple five-letter word game that has brought cumulative joy to people during the stressful coronavirus pandemic, has been bought. The free game that has quickly become the most cherished one online was acquired by The New York Times (NYT) and netizens are anything but thrilled.
The simple game was developed by Brooklyn-based engineer Josh Wardle, which he started as a puzzle to play with his partner during the pandemic and later opened to the world.
“The purchase, announced by The Times on Monday, reflects the growing importance of games, like crosswords and Spelling Bee, in the company’s quest to increase digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025,” NYT said in an article announcing the move. “The company said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players,” it added.
Taking to Twitter, which has been at the centre of all the frenzy surrounding the game, Wardle issued a statement to inform players about the update.
An update on Wordle pic.twitter.com/TmHd0AIRLX
— Josh Wardle (@powerlanguish) January 31, 2022
Wardle said in a previous NYT interview he started Wordle after he and his partner “got really into” the newspaper’s crosswords and Spelling Bee games during the pandemic. “New York Times Games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels very natural to me,” Wardle said in his statement.
Wordle was sold to the American newspaper for more than $1 million, TIME reported. “The price wasn’t disclosed, but the Times said it paid in ‘the low-seven figures’,” the report stated.
The high-value deal is a testament to the game’s growing popularity, which had less than 100 players in early November last year when it was launched to the public. However, by early January, there were more than 300,000 players logged on the website to play their once-a-day puzzle.
After the NYT’s move was announced, people did congratulate Wardle but were heartbroken to know their simplest joy of playing the game will soon go behind a paywall. Soon, people took to Twitter to express their displeasure.
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
“How millennials killed Wordle” -NYT op-ed tomorrow
— Lauren Hough (@laurenthehough) January 31, 2022
How long do you think the New York Times will keep Wordle free to non subscribers?
I’ll give you 6 guesses.
— Julie Cohen (@FilmmakerJulie) February 1, 2022
I guess the thing I hope about Wordle is not that it finds some nice afterlife with NYT but that it inspires people to make more cool and free things that aren’t designed to extract anything from us.
— Dan Golding (@dangolding) January 31, 2022
in all seriousness, good for the Wordle dude. I am as happy as anyone that the game is free and not cluttered with ads, but creators deserve to make money from their work + that guy must be getting shellacked with server costs right now like can you even IMAGINE
— Will Campos (@willbcampos) January 31, 2022
I think part of what I love(d?) so much about Wordle was that it was nice to remember a version of the internet that was not so married to advertising / selling me something / attaching itself to some larger corporate interest. Haha… anyway…. congrats to the Wordle Man.
— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) January 31, 2022
When you have too much money and really need the answer on the last row https://t.co/cCIAR13X8n
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 31, 2022
I have never seen twitter as immediately mad as it is rn about the NYT wordle buyout. the NYT took one nice and simple thing that a lot of people really liked, a dumb bit of fun in our exhaustingly dark times, and implied that they’ll stick it behind a paywall. exhausting.
— srečko kosovel fan (@mcmansionhell) January 31, 2022
If the New York Times makes Wordle a paid game, you can always just use your mind to guess a word every day
— Venom Lord (@aniceburrito) January 31, 2022
rip wordle pic.twitter.com/jSrQvCVmCi
— sam.i.am 🐀 (@bigbyslefthand) February 1, 2022
RIP, Wordle. We knew it was too good to last, but for one bright moment in these dark times, there was a game that was free & enjoyed by all, without even requiring that users watch an ad. https://t.co/pZOS9xZseE
— 2nd Toughest in the Adolescents (@_katiedewi_) January 31, 2022
Of course wordle may not be free much longer. 2022 just coming for all my sources of joy in year 3 of the pandemic pic.twitter.com/yCk4aiJtHE
— a; 🌊 (@asra___q) February 1, 2022
love that wordle man got to make money. esp bc he made it out of love for his partner. that said if the nyt paywall’s it i’m gonna blow up the sun
— rebecca mix (@mixbecca) February 1, 2022
“initially remain free”Advertisement
i really hate that companies think that people would still be interested in something if it costs money
wordle would NOT be popular at all if it charged people, and charging will quite literally kill off any chance of it staying popular https://t.co/vBvJBjpkem
— emma 🦑 (@EmmaOnlime) January 31, 2022
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