Tuesday , 11 June 2024
Home Global Economy New York Times buys online game Wordle
Global Economy

New York Times buys online game Wordle

You are looking for a word with 5 letters. You can only guess with words that actually exist, and after each guess it is displayed whether one of the letters is contained in the word you are looking for. Everyone has six tries to guess – or find – the right word.

Those who take part go to the Wordle website and type in any five-letter word. If any letters light up green, then the right letter is in the right place. With yellow lighting, the letter is correct – but not the position. Gray means: none.

The online game "Wordle" – a 6-letter word – has been taken over by the parent company of the "New York Times" (NYT). Why? The publisher explained that Wordle will be part of the "New York Times Games" portfolio in the future, which consists of original puzzle games that should inspire and challenge users every day – and win digital subscribers. Ten million are targeted by 2025.

The success is a mystery even to the inventor Josh Wardle – a New York City-based Brit, software engineer and now a millionaire – there is nothing to win, only attention in the social networks. As of November 2021, the game had 90 players, including Wardle's partner, for whom he programmed the game in his spare time. In December 2021, he thought of how players could share their scores on social media using colored square emojis, and user numbers skyrocketed; on the second weekend in January 2022, two million people played Wordle worldwide – in different languages, including German.

Lau Chaak-ming, linguistics professor at the Education University of Hong Kong and "Wordle" developer:

"In the beginning it was just for fun. I thought it would be great if a few hundred people played it. But I was surprised that more than ten thousand or even a hundred thousand people played. I'm quite happy."

Wayne McDougall, Maori Wordle Developer:

"What I didn't expect was that a number of teachers told me that they would like to use it in their lessons – at the beginning and at the end, for motivation and as a sense of achievement."

Wordle's success has also attracted particular attention in the industry because it took place completely outside of the Apple and Google app stores and the game was put online as a web application: Wordle is a very simple game on a website. There isn't even an official app for it. It's ad-free and doesn't ask for money. As usage grew, so did the number of unauthorized copies. While Wordle clones were quickly removed from the Apple and Google app stores, there are still a number of Wordle offers on the Internet that copy the game idea without Wardle's consent.

After the change of ownership, users fear that the newspaper will soon start charging for the game, as it does with other online games. The NYT: "Initially" the game is still free.

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