Tuesday, February 1, 2022

The New York Times Buys Wordle

Marc Tracy (Josh Wardle, Hacker News, MacRumors, Jason Kottke):

The sudden hit Wordle, in which once a day players get six chances to guess a five-letter word, has been acquired by The New York Times Company.

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.

Wordle was acquired from its creator, Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, for a price “in the low seven figures,” The Times said. The company said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players.

Thomas Karpiniec:

It’s a legitimately delightful story. A programmer built a deceptively simple game and executed it well. It grew organically through the power of the web since anybody can access a webpage, unhindered by app stores, operating systems or gatekeepers. Many people (including me) have enjoyed playing the same puzzles with their friends and comparing results. Ultimately the programmer had a nice payday for his efforts. Great stuff. Most likely it will die a slow death under the auspices of the NYT, relegated to some sort of games subscription.


But the phenomenon wasn’t really about the sheer human joy of finding five letter words, was it? The masterful thing is how it stoked and took advantage of the dark patterns of social media without having to get its own hands dirty. Ninety percent of the brilliance is in the “Share” copy-paste.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter

Good for him. Can't wait for the NYT to ruin it. How are they going to grandfather in existing users, given that there's no login? Also I don't really see the hype with this game, I'm kinda tired of it already because it's too easy. I'm no genius, but I can usually figure out the word in 3 guesses, and after playing it every day for 2 weeks it has never taken me more than 4 guesses. I suspect it's using some kind of simplified 5-letter-word dictionary, because all of the words have been super common so far (like high school level average English).

A triumph of doing one thing well.

Bravo! I hope he got filthy rich.

Leave a Comment