Wordle Began as a 'Sweet' Love Story — and Now It Has Sold for a 'Price in the Low-Seven Figures'

The New York Times is the new owner of the internet's latest obsession

Wordle. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty

Internet sensation Wordle has been acquired by The New York Times Games for a "undisclosed price in the low-seven figures," the company announced on Monday.

It's a fitting home for the online guessing game, which was created by software engineer Josh Wardle for his partner Palak Shah, a fan of the Times' crossword puzzle and Spelling Bee. Though he built the first iteration of the game in 2013, nothing came of it until the couple found themselves "killing time" during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Times reported.

"I wanted to come up with a game that she would enjoy," Wardle — whose game title is a play on his last name — told the Times.

"It's really sweet," Shah, who helps with the daily word selection for Wordle, explained. "This is definitely how Josh shows his love."

Since its public launch in October, the game has skyrocketed in popularity, attracting millions of daily users, according to the Times' announcement.

Wordle players enjoy the game's simple design, which gives them six attempts to correctly guess a five-letter word and doesn't feature ads.

"I think people kind of appreciate that there's this thing online that's just fun," Wardle told the Times. "It's not trying to do anything shady with your data or your eyeballs. It's just a game that's fun."

Wordle limits players to one game per day, has been free since its launch and doesn't send notifications.

"It's something that encourages you to spend three minutes a day," Wardle said. "And that's it. Like, it doesn't want any more of your time than that."

In its announcement, the Times indicated that users shouldn't expect too many updates.

"At the time it moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players," the company said, "and no changes will be made to its gameplay."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Wardle has publicly shown his enthusiasm for the transaction.

"If you've followed along with the story of Wordle, you'll know that New York Times Games play a big part in its origins," Wardle told the Times. "So this step feels very natural to me."

Related Articles