Well, it was good while it lasted. Wordle, the free and ad-free word game that consumed all our minds, won’t be free anymore sometime in the future. On Twitter today, the game’s creator announced The New York Times company agreed to buy the game. And a paywall is coming.
Just in case you somehow missed the internet craze so big, we’ve dedicated nine previous posts (and ten after this one!) covering it; Wordle is the game the world can’t stop talking about. That’s probably because it managed the perfect mix of ease to play, difficulty to master, scarcity (one game a day), and bragging rights. We’ve talked about strategy, alternatives, and more. We even put together a page to give you Wordle hints and the answer if you’re really stuck.
But all of that is about to change. After all, Wordle was a passion project built by Josh Wardle for his partner, who loves word games. It blew up in ways no one could have anticipated, as evidenced by the fact that the answers were available right in the site’s code.
An update on Wordle pic.twitter.com/TmHd0AIRLX
— Josh Wardle (@powerlanguish) January 31, 2022
The New York Times confirms it agreed to buy the game for a price in “the low seven figures” and will take over managing it entirely. That includes a move to the NYT site, though Wardle promises your streaks and wins would make the move too.
But while Wardle’s initial post gave hope that the game would remain free for all to play, The New York Times’s own coverage threw cold water with a simple statement:
The company said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players.
Note the keyword “initially.” Which in turn implies, “eventually it won’t be free anymore.” That shouldn’t be a surprise, as the NYT already hosts content behind paywalls, from its daily news coverage to its Wirecutter reviews to even games like its crossword puzzles. Add one more game to the list.
It’s not a distinct confirmation, and Wordle may remain free. But if and when it does go behind a paywall, there are always alternatives.