The New York Times Buys Wordle as Part of Broader Scope to Attract More Digital Subscribers

UTC by Tolu Ajiboye · 3 min read
The New York Times Buys Wordle as Part of Broader Scope to Attract More Digital Subscribers
Photo: Shutterstock

Newspaper powerhouse The New York Times has acquired word-guessing sensation Wordle owing to its immense popularity in a relatively short period of time.

The New York Times has acquired Wordle, the online game that recently rose to popularity. Released by Josh Wardle in October 2021, the game is a sensational word puzzle feature. Acquiring Wordle underscores the commitment from The New York Times to try and attract new subscribers into its fold. The preeminent newspaper company already has a pre-existing suite of games and looks to increase digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025. Some of these games include crosswords, Letter Boxed, Tiles, Vertex and Spelling Bee.

General manager for the New York Times Games, Jonathan Knight, weighed in on the acquisition, saying:

“We could not be more thrilled to become the new home and proud stewards of this magical game, and are honored to help bring Josh Wardle’s cherished creation to more solvers in the months ahead.”

The sum paid for Wordle remains undisclosed. However, according to the newspaper company, it cost a few million dollars. The Times also stated that Wordle, which was initially created as a free web-based experience, will remain so for new and existing players. It further added that it would not alter or make any changes to the hit word-guessing game.

Wordle Creator Believes That His Brainchild is In Capable Hands with The New York Times

Wardle stated that he is working with the Times to preserve the existing wins of players. This is to allow a successful cross over once Wordle heads to its new home. With this, players who have logged impressive records on the game will be able to resume right from where they left off.

Wardle also expressed delight at handing over the reins of his successful creation to The New York Times, saying:

“Since launching Wordle, I’ve been in awe of the response from everyone that has played, the game has gotten bigger than I ever imagined (which I suppose isn’t that much of a feat given I made the game for an audience of 1).”

Wardle also stated that Wordle’s transition to the Times “feels very natural to me”. This is because according to the Brooklyn-based software engineer, the Times’ Games heavily influenced the creation of his masterpiece.

Shortly after its inception in October, Wordle registered 90 users on November 1st. By mid-January of 2022, the number of players was at 300,000, and now, Wordle has a daily player base of millions.

The New York Times On A Quest to Become ‘Essential’ English-speaking Subscription

The New York Times says that it is working to become the “essential subscription” for English-speaking people looking to engage the world. According to the prominent newspaper platform, its suite of games is an effective tool for that purpose. At the end of the third quarter, the Times had about 980,000 Games subscriptions. Also, with the new Wordle acquisition, the daily newspaper can choose to put it behind its paywall in the future.


Wordle is a tongue-in-cheek pun on its creator’s name – Josh Wardle. Wardle originally created the game as a gift for his partner Palak Shah. They both got addicted to word games – including the Times’ crosswords and Spelling Bee during the pandemic. Owing to its massive popularity since that time, other cheap imitations of Wordle sprang up on iPhone apps. However, Apple quickly moved to ban those apps from its App Store following an expose on the clones.

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