Home / News / Wordle is inevitably snapped up – will it remain free to play?

Wordle is inevitably snapped up – will it remain free to play?

The New York Times opens its wallet

It seems the internet can’t shut up about game-of-the-moment Wordle. Whether it’s green and yellow squares taking over your Twitter timeline, or headlines about clones charging $30 per month for a knock off game, Wordle has been on everyone’s lips.

Wordle’s back in the headlines once again, as The New York Times has purchased the online brain-teaser. You’ll also find it on our list of the best browser games to kill your productivity.

For anyone that has managed to avoid the online Wordle hype, Wordle is a five-letter word guessing game with only one puzzle a day. When making guesses, the game tells you if you’ve got the right letter in the wrong place and the right letter in the right place.

Yesterday, the New York Times announced that it had bought the game from engineer Josh Wardle for a price in the “low seven figures”. So on the lower end of anywhere between $1 million and $10 million.

With the acquisition of Wordle, the NYT has claimed that the game would “initially” remain free to both new and existing players. Though, the reason behind purchasing the game was to boost the NYT’s digital subscriptions. The news publication has essentially put a countdown timer on charging for Wordle, either as part of the NYT Games subscription or behind a paywall. After all, the NYT’s own article announcing the acquisition is behind a paywall.

In its statement, the company said “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.” Note the use of “at the time” there.

The NYT also put out some interesting numbers about the brain-teaser. Wordle had only 90 users on November 1, and now millions of people play the game daily.

Perhaps it isn’t bad news for Wordle fans. There may finally be a mobile app to download like everyone’s been after, and the game is definitely not going anywhere. But whether you’ll have to open your wallet to play the game at some point in future remains to be seen.