The New York Times revealed that it has acquired the surprising word game hit Wordle.
It makes sense. The newspaper has long been known for its iconic crossword puzzles and already maintains a stable of mostly word-based games. The surprising and meteoric rise of a new game right in its wheelhouse was likely too much to resist.
Wordle was created by Brooklyn software engineer Josh Wardle and released to the public in October 2021. It provides users with six daily tries to guess a five-letter word. Each guess provides clues about how close the player is in the form of color-coded letters. If you can't guess the whole word by your sixth try, you're out of luck until the next day.
The seemingly simplistic game has exploded in popularity in recent weeks, with references to the obsession surrounding it showing up in every corner of pop culture and social media.
Its rise to popularity began quickly, with The Times claiming it already had 300,000 daily players just two months after its launch and "millions" today.
Jonathan Knight, general manager for The New York Times Games, said Wordle will "have an exciting future with the help of a team of talented engineers, designers, editors and more, furthering the user experience."
While some may cringe at what sounds like an intent to mess with Wordle's formula, The Times promised in its release that "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."
Of course, this doesn't preclude the possibility that the web-based game will see some alterations down the road or that spinoffs of its gameplay could be made. The most likely is, of course, the ability to take a crack at more than one word per day.
While it didn't disclose a specific purchase price, The New York Times did note that it paid a price "in the low seven figures" for Wordle. Not bad for a free-to-play game that's barely four months old.