Well, that was fun while it lasted. Or maybe it was just annoying to see your social media feeds clogged up with those little green and yellow squares. Either way, Wordle, the word game phenomenon that has dominated social media all month long, has been bought by the New York Times, which will almost certainly spell the end of the game’s laidback, home-made, DIY charm.
As the Times tweeted this afternoon, they bought the rights to Wordle from its creator Josh Wardle for a price in the low seven figures. The paper’s article about the acquisition notes that “the game would initially remain free to new and existing players,” and that word “initially” should immediately let every Wordle player know that it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need a Times subscription to get your daily five-letter fix.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Wardle credited the word games found in the Times as one of his inspirations for Wordle, and expressed faith in how they'll maintain the game going forward. “I've long admired the NYT's approach to their games and the respect with which they treat their players,” Wardle writes. “Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I'm thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”
The timeline for the game’s transition hasn’t been disclosed, but Wardle says he’s working with the Times on a way to transfer players’ records to the new system. Hopefully Wordle can continue on as the same low-key treat that has entertained millions of players throughout January.