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The New York Times has just announced that it has purchased Wordle, the daily word puzzle game that has taken the world by storm in recent weeks. The announcement comes on the heels of two major gaming acquisitions — namely, Microsoft’s groundbreaking $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard and Sony’s $3.6 billion acquisition of Bungie.

Wordle was purchased from software engineer and creator Josh Wardle for a price “in the low seven figures,” which doesn’t quite put it on the same monetary level as the other recent acquisitions, but the game has arguably has just as much cultural impact as any AAA game. “Wordle” has trended on Twitter nearly every day since it took off, which speaks to the number of people who play it every day. The shared experience of solving the same puzzle as everyone else every day creates a sense of community amongst Wordle-partakers, which, in a time where real-life community is few and far between, is sorely needed.

The acquisition also brings Wordle full-circle, in a way. Wardle initially created the game because his partner “got really into” the New York Times crosswords and Spelling Bee games during the COVID-19 pandemic. Word games are a staple of what the New York Times offers its subscribers, and it makes sense for Wordle to be the next one added to the outlet’s repertoire. It does, however, mean that everyone will have to change the address of their Wordle bookmark.

The language used around the acquisition has also cast some doubt on whether Wordle will continue to be free-to-play. The acquisition is a big step in the New York Times’ push to increase its userbase of digital subscribers. The New York Times has stated that the game will “initially remain free to new and existing players,” while a statement from Wardle himself said that the game “will be free to play for everyone.”

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