Wordle, Once Free, Was Acquired by 'The New York Times' — Sale Details

Wordle was free, but that changed after 'The New York Times' struck a deal to acquire it in January 2022. How much money does Wordle make?

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Mar. 13 2023, Updated 1:36 p.m. ET

Wordle on a smartphone
Source: Getty Images

Wordle, an online daily word game, is sweeping the planet. If you have no clue what Wordle is, you probably aren’t on social media, which has been flooded with people sharing their daily results. While new users can play Wordle at no cost to them during a 7-day free trial, they'll eventually incur a monthly fee. How much is Wordle and how does the game make money?

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

Wordle’s creator, Josh Wardle, made the game strictly for your pleasure (or rather his partner's), and he planned to keep it that way. However, that changed after The New York Times announced it had struck a deal to acquire the game from Wardle for an undisclosed price "in the low seven figures" on Jan. 31, 2022.

Keep reading for details on how Wordle makes money and how the game got its start.

Source: Twitter/Charlie Manuel
Article continues below advertisement

Why did Wardle sell Wordle to the 'New York Times'?

Upon the announcement of the deal, Wardle took to Twitter to share a statement explaining his decision. While he has enjoyed watching a game he created for his partner grow into a global phenomenon, Wardle admits, "I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been a little overwhelming." He said that the work of maintaining the game for an audience of this size is too much work for one person.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

While Wardle is confident in the NYT's ability to steward his creation, many fans of the game are worried that the acquisition will strip the game of its fun. While the Times said the game would initially be free to play, the game later joined its other Wordplay games, such as its crossword and popular Spelling Bee, which are currently only available to NYT Games subscribers for $5 per month or $40 per year.

"Making Wordle I specifically rejected a bunch of the things you're supposed to do for a mobile game," Wardle told NPR earlier this month. “The rejection of some of those things has actually attracted people to the game because it feels quite innocent, and it just wants you to have fun with it."

Article continues below advertisement

How did Wordle get started?

Everyone was bored in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some of us took on new hobbies or watched too much Netflix, Wardle decided to dust off a prototype word game that he created in 2013. The New York software engineer reportedly first made the game for his partner, who liked to play word games.

Article continues below advertisement

Currently, there are imitation games and apps out there that you might confuse for the real Wordle, which currently can only be played on The New York Times website.

Article continues below advertisement

Fast forward to 2023 and almost 3 million people around the world are addicted to playing the game.

Article continues below advertisement
Article continues below advertisement

How do you play Wordle?

In Wordle, you get six attempts to figure out a five-letter word of the day. With each try, the letter tiles turn different colors. Green means the letter is correct and in the right spot, yellow means the letter is correct but in the wrong location, and gray means the letter isn’t in the word at all.

If you’re colorblind and can’t see green and yellow colors, no worries. You can switch to “colorblind” mode in the settings, which replaces the green for orange and the yellow for blue.

If you think that the game is too easy, there's a setting that enables you to switch to “hard mode.”

Article continues below advertisement

Once you have figured out the word, you’re given the option of sharing your results on Twitter or Facebook, which is why you have seen so many results showing up in your newsfeed.

Article continues below advertisement

Unfortunately for some addicts of the game (this writer included), you can only play Wordle once a day. After solving the puzzle, you have to wait until the next day to guess another word.

Article continues below advertisement

Don’t spill the beans and tell someone else what the Wordle-of-the day is because it's the same word for everyone who plays, whether they are playing in Denver or Dubai.

What are some Wordle tips and tricks?

The key to guessing the Wordle of the day in the least amount of attempts possible lies in the first word that you start the game with. A word with many vowels or common consonants might get you closer to the answer. Some people suggested first words floating around Wordle strategy groups include “adieu,” “arose,” and “stare.”

More from Market Realist

Latest Media & Entertainment News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.