New York Times buys Wordle for 'low seven figures'

The organisation says the game will "initially" remain free to play.
The organisation says the game will "initially" remain free to play. Photo credit: Getty Images / Newshub

The creator of viral online game Wordle has revealed he's sold his creation to the New York Times for a seven-figure amount.

Josh Wardle, who created the game for his puzzle-loving partner late last year, said the response to it had become "a little overwhelming", adding he is happy the game is moving to the new platform.

The word-guessing game, in which players have six attempts to guess the secret five-letter word, is played by millions each day with many sharing their success - or lack of - on social media.

"It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many, and I feel so grateful for the personal stories some of you have shared with me - from Wordle uniting distant family members, to provoking friendly rivalries, to supporting medical recoveries," Wardle wrote in a statement posted to Twitter.

"On the flip side, I'd be lying if I said this hasn't been a little overwhelming.

"After all, I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone."

He said one of the most important factors in his decision to sell to the Times was his admiration of the platform's respect for the way it treats gamers, revealing it played a big part in the origins of the game.

"Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I'm thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward," he wrote.

"When the game moves to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved."

In a report on the purchase, the Times said it had paid Wardle - a software engineer in Brooklyn - a price "in the low seven figures".

The company said the game would "initially" remain free to new and existing players, which has led to fears that the game will eventually be moved behind the Times' gaming paywall.

That led some to announce they will likely stop playing the game.

"If the New York Times puts Wordle behind a paywall I will both cry and never play again," one person wrote.

"The very act of buying Wordle has instantly ruined it, even the news alone made it a less appealing game because it's just like any other one out there now," another tweeted.

Others, however, were pleased that Wardle was rewarded for his work.

"Congratulations to Josh Wardle on being able to almost afford a house in a not-great suburb in New Zealand now," Josie Campbell tweeted.

"I am really glad about this - anyone who creates something this clever SHOULD make really good bucks on it. Hope he got what his millions of users are worth!," one wrote.

The Times recently revealed it had more than a million gaming subscribers.

Wordle's viral success saw multiple rip-offs uploaded to Apple's AppStore, hoping to cash in on the creation, before the Cupertino-based company removed them.

Wardle then teamed up with the creator of another game of the same name to raise money for charity.