Wordle’s surprise hit, in which players were given six chances each day to guess a five-letter word, was acquired by The New York Times Company.
The acquisition, announced by The Times on Monday, reflects the growing importance of games, such as crosswords and Spelling Bee, in the company’s quest to increase digital subscriptions. 10 million people by 2025.
Wordle was purchased from its creator, Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, for “in the low seven figures,” The Times reported. The company says the original game will remain free for new and existing players.
Wordle – the name is a cheeky pun on its creator’s name – there has been an outstanding increase. It first appeared on a no-frills, ad-free platform website in October and had 90 users on November 1, that number had grown to 300,000 by the middle of this month, and now millions of people play the game daily, according to the Times announcement.
A feature that allows users to share their performance, with five bricks indicating how many letters in each of their guesses did not appear in the correct word, appeared in the word or appeared in the correct word. It’s in the correct location. These same tile layouts have been consistently remembered and prompted millions of tweets.
“The Times remains focused on becoming the essential subscription for every English speaker who wants to understand and interact with the world,” a company statement said. “The New York Times Games is an important part of that strategy.”
Since The Times set up a fee wall in 2011, its business strategy has revolved around persuading readers and users, most of whom receive Times digital content, to buy subscriptions. The traditional newspaper business model focuses on advertising.
The Times sells subscriptions to the core print and digital news app, and for a lower price, to a games app (Games), a recipes app (Cooking) and, since Last year, The Wirecutter, a product demo site. acquired in 2016. This month, The Times spent $550 million to acquire sports news website The Athletic, which attracted the 1.2 million subscribers it brought in.
The business strategy has been vindicated for millions of new subscribers. In November, The Times said in an earnings report that it has nearly 8.4 million subscribers. (Its next earnings report is scheduled to be released on Wednesday.) In December, The Times report Games and Cooking both have over a million subscribers.
The Times games – along with crosswords and Spelling Bee, including Letter Boxed, Tiles and Vertex – were played more than 500 million times last year, the company said.
Mr. Wardle, the creator of the game, told a Times reporter this month that he started Wordle after he and his partner “really got into” The Times’ crossword and Spelling Bee during the pandemic.
“The New York Times Games played an important role in its origins,” Wardle said in the company statement, “and so this step feels very natural to me.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/31/business/media/new-york-times-wordle.html The New York Times buys Wordle