Wordle, the simple word guessing game that took Twitter by storm over the last few months, has been acquired by the New York Times, the publication announced on Monday.
The Times did not release a price for the acquisition, but said it paid the game's creator, Josh Wardle, a sum in “in the low-seven figures." The game will remain free to play "initially," the company said. Wordle will join Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed and the Times' crosswords in the publication's suite of word and puzzle games, which were played 500 million times in 2021, the company said.
"The game has done what so few games have done: It has captured our collective imagination, and brought us all a little closer together," Jonathan Knight, general manager for The Times Games, said in a statement. "As part of our portfolio of games, Wordle will have an exciting future with the help of a team of talented engineers, designers, editors and more, furthering the user experience.”
The game was first launched by Wardle in October. Since then it's gone viral, reaching "millions" of players daily with thousands posting their scores on social media, according to The Times' announcement. It's even inspired close to a dozen copycat versions available on app stores, most of which look exactly the same as Wardle's original.
"I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been a little overwhelming," Wardle said in a statement on Twitter. "After all, I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience for everyone."
Wardle said he is currently working with The Times to ensure players' win and streak data is preserved as the publication takes the game over.