Popular Browser Game 'Wordle' Sold to The New York Times, Will Remain Free 'Initially'

The New York Times today announced that it has purchased popular web-based game “Wordle” for low-seven figures. Created by Josh Wardle, Wordle has gained millions of users over the past several months and has become well-known on the internet thanks to its simple score sharing features and straightforward gameplay.

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Wardle said in a January interview with TechCrunch that “part of the point” of Wordle was that it was free to play and that he had no interest in monetizing it, but at the time, he also said it would be “foolish” not to speak with those interested in investing in Wordle in some capacity.

The New York Times says that Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players “at the time it moves” over to the NYT site, but there is no word on whether it will be monetized and locked behind a paywall at a later date. Specific wording in a New York Times story says “the game would initially remain free to new and existing players,” so the “initially” could imply future changes.

In a letter announcing the acquisition, Wardle said that he is working with The New York Times to ensure that wins and streaks will be preserved during the transition.

Wordle made headlines in early January because as it rose to popularity, multiple app developers attempted to capitalize on its success and created clone apps in the App Store. Wordle has always been a web-based browser game and is not available on iOS devices through an official app, so these clone apps capitalize on the Wordle idea and charging people money.

Apple ultimately decided to remove all of the Wordle clones that used the Wordle name from the ‌App Store‌, and to date, there have been no additional Wordle clones released for sale on Apple’s platform. With Wordle now owned by The New York Times , we could possibly see an official Wordle app in the future as the NYT does already offer an app for its crossword puzzles.