Wordle: Will you have to pay to play Wordle after NYT sale?

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Wordle is a free daily puzzle game where players have six attempts at guessing a five-letter word. Players can then share their scores on Twitter, using a mechanism that shows their guesswork using yellow and green emojis, a fun way to exercise their bragging rights. Yesterday the New York Times confirmed it had bought the game, but will it remain free to play?

Everyone’s favourite daily word game, Wordle, has been bought by the New York Times for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

The game’s creator Josh Wardle confirmed the news in a statement shared to his Twitter, adding: “When the game moves to NYT, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved.”

A statement from the New York Times Company said: “Wordle was acquired for an undisclosed price in the low-seven figures.”

The statement continued: “90 people played the game on November 1. Nearly two months later, 300,000 people played it. Now, the puzzle has millions of daily players.”

In Wardle’s statement, he spoke of his admiration for the New York Times Puzzles. He said: “I’ve long admired the NYT’s approach to their games and the respect with which they treat their players.

“Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”

While many Wordle fans are happy the game has made its creator a millionaire, many were worried the sale could mean the game is no longer free to play.

The New York Times’ statement said Wordle will be free to play at the time it joins the New York Times, saying: “At the time it moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players, and no changes will be made to its gameplay.”

This wording might imply the door is open for subscription fees being introduced at a later date, but nothing has been said yet.

So, for the moment players have been reassured Wordle will remain free to play, and Josh Wardle is working hard on making sure your hard-earned streaks are able to be carried over when the game moves house.

Before the NYT sale, in an interview with Radio 4, Wardle said it was important the game stayed free, adding: “There are also no ads and I am not doing anything with your data – and that is also quite deliberate.”

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In his statement confirming the sale to the New York Times, Wardle said: “Since launching Wordle, I’ve been in awe of the response from everyone that has played.

“The game has got much bigger than I ever imagined (which I suppose isn’t that much of a feat given I made the game for an audience of one).

“It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many, and I feel so grateful for the personal stories some of you have shared with me – from Wordle uniting distant family members, to provoking friendly rivalries, to supporting medical recoveries.

“On the flip side, I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a bit overwhelming.

“After all, I’m just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone.”

One of Britain’s most prominent Wordle fans, game show host Richard Osman, often takes to Twitter to share his scores with his 1.1 million followers.

Weighing in on the Wordle sale, Osman tweeted: “The really clever bits of Wordle, the sharing mechanism, the deliberate rationing of games, are not protectable.

“Tough to measure exactly what the NYT has bought. I suspect, in the end, the brand is worth what they paid, but it’s risky.

“Either way it’s an interesting one. But it’s given/giving us a lot of happiness, and I’m glad Josh Wardle has benefitted from that.”

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