New York Times buys Wordle in push to expand its games business

A taxi in the street in front of the New York Times building
The New York Times is focusing on games as it varies its revenue sources.
(Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)
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The New York Times acquired Wordle, adding the popular daily word phenomenon to the newspaper company’s expanding portfolio of games and puzzles.

The price wasn’t disclosed, but the Times said it paid in “the low seven figures.”

Wordle gives players six tries to guess a five-letter mystery word. It was created by Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn. Since its debut in October, it has caught fire, with users posting on social media how many guesses it took them to solve the word. The game has millions of daily players, according to the Times.

On Twitter, where users helped make Wordle a viral phenomenon by sharing images of their completed grids, some expressed concern that the game would quickly disappear behind the subscription paywall. The Times said it would remain a free product “at the time it moves to the Times,” and that gameplay would not change.


“I’ve long admired the Times’ approach to the quality of their games and the respect with which they treat their players,” Wardle said in a statement. “Their values are aligned with mine on these matters, and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”

The Times is focusing on games as a way to diversify its revenue sources. With Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency over, the newspaper has warned that subscriber growth won’t continue at the rate recorded in 2020.

In December, the Times crossed 1 million subscriptions to its games, which include “Spelling Bee” and crossword puzzles.