Wordle purchased by the New York Times

New York Times Snags Wordle for 7 Figures, Fans Share Mixed Reactions on Twitter

While the Times has confirmed that Wordle will continue to be free to play, several users on Twitter voiced concerns regarding the publication’s use of paywalls for content.

If you’re an active Twitter user (guilty here), chances are that you’ve come across a few coloured blocks every now and then. If so, you’re already acquainted with Wordle, 2022’s first major internet obsession.

In a deal that was announced this Monday, the game—which has drawn in millions of players every single day— was purchased by The New York Times for an ‘undisclosed price in the low seven figures’, according to Business Insider.

“I’ve long admired The Times’s approach to the quality of their games and the respect with which they treat their players,” Josh Wardle, said the British-born New Yorker who created the game. “Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”

Wordle is a rare achievement in today’s social media landscape. A game as simple as it is popular, it grew from its initial audience of one (Wardle’s wife), and mushroomed into an inescapable internet phenomenon that brought friends and family together each morning, sharing an excellent game score or ranting about a game gone wrong.

“The game has done what so few games have done—it has captured our collective imagination and brought us all a little closer together,” said Jonathan Knight, the general manager of games at The New York Times.

How Did Fans Take It?

Considering that the game has so many fans across the globe, chances are that the player base would be polarized if the game left Wardle’s hands, which it inevitably did.

While the publication has confirmed that the game will continue to be free, several users on Twitter voiced concerns regarding the publication’s use of paywalls for content:

Some called out the Times for its apparent hypocrisy regarding budget cuts; a particularly tough issue when you consider that it is one of the most wealthy publications in the world:

Others raised the point that NYT earns a significant portion of income through advertisements, which in turn raises privacy concerns regarding web cookies. Think about it: The publication now owns the most popular morning word puzzle on the planet, and can charge a premium for any connected ad space:

All this considered, most people were happy for Wardle, whose story of love, letters, and javascript delighted thousands of players and fans.

A few even suggested some alternatives:

Wardle also reached out to his fans, ensuring that he would work with NYT to keep all streaks and wins preserved.