Josh Wardle Sells Wordle To New York Times For Seven Figures And People Are Sad

Josh Wardle Sells Wordle To New York Times For Seven Figures And People Are Sad

Josh Wardle, the creator of Wordle, has sold his smash hit word game to the New York Times for a reported “low seven-figure” sum.

Wardle stated yesterday that he was pleased to hand off the reins to the New York Times. In a January interview Wardle conducted with the Times, he conceded the idea for the game was borne from him and his partner’s love of the New York Times word games like “Spelling Bee.” His statement also promised the game would remain free when it moved to the New York Times site. The NYT, however, “said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players” (emphasis added).

Wordle has been the undoubted king of social media over the previous two months. The Lingo-like word game exploded on social media in December after Wardle added a “share” function so that players could post their final result grids on Twitter. Since then, Wordle has been the subject of fawning think-pieces and tremendous enthusiasm from social media, not just because of the quality of the game, but because of what Wordle represented to many people: by keeping Wordle free-to-play and ad-free, Wardle harkened back to a simpler time on the internet, one where people would choose to go to a website for one purpose, rather than go to a mega-corporate website to serve all their needs while the corporate website sold all their data to advertisers.

The Wordle sale depressed players who enjoyed the game’s simplicity and lack of corporate funding. Many feared the language used in the Times article, dreading that the game would soon be put behind a paywall, despite Wardle’s assurances.

Despite the despair, many agreed that it was an undoubted success story for Wardle, whose little game he developed for him and his partner turned into a global smash and made him a millionaire.

Time will tell if Wordle will remain the smash hit it has been now that it’s in the hands of the New York Times. Until then, today’s word is “ANGST.”

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