Wordle: New York Times Company buys popular web game

Company says the game will remain free while it adds to potential subscriptions

A person plays online word game Wordle. AFP
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The New York Times Company said on Monday it had acquired Wordle, a website-only word game that has seen a recent burst in popularity, for an undisclosed price in the low seven figures.

The acquisition will help The Times broaden its digital content as it tries to reach the goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025.

The once-a-day online game gives a player six chances to figure out the day's secret five-letter word using the least number of guesses.

The game was originally released in October by former Reddit software engineer Josh Wardle.

“It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many, and 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,” Mr Wardle tweeted on Monday.

Wordle will continue to be free and there will be no changes to its gameplay, The New York Times said.

“Wordle will now play a part in that daily experience, giving millions more people around the world another reason to turn to The Times to meet their daily news and life needs,” it said.

Games and puzzles are a key part of the paper's strategy to keep its audience engaged on its apps and websites as more readers use their mobile phones and tablets for their daily dose of news and entertainment.

The company added 135,000 members in its latest third quarter for its games, cooking and product review website Wirecutter reported.

In December, the Times crossed one million subscriptions to its games, which include Spelling Bee and crossword puzzles.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: February 01, 2022, 5:38 AM