37 votes

The New York Times buys Wordle

21 comments

  1. [14]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    I'm sure that a lot of people on the internet are going to be upset about this, but I was really happy to see it. Josh is a friend of mine that I've known for almost 10 years now. He was the first...
    • Exemplary

    I'm sure that a lot of people on the internet are going to be upset about this, but I was really happy to see it. Josh is a friend of mine that I've known for almost 10 years now. He was the first Reddit employee that I met in person—he came out to meet me on the street in front of the office when I went there for my interview. I always spent a lot of time with him whenever I went down to SF while working there, and still talk with him here and there. He was one of the first people I ever told about Tildes. He doesn't post here, but his account was registered only 2 hours after my own.

    He came up with the plans for some of the most memorable events on Reddit with The Button and Place, and it's been awesome to see him getting so much recognition for Wordle over the last couple of months. He definitely deserves it, and it was even better in this case because he did all the implementation himself too—Wordle was truly "his", not something he created for a company. I'm glad that he's going to end up with a big paycheck out of it, and also be able to distance himself from some of the ridiculous drama that the internet has managed to attach to a fun little word game so quickly.

    53 votes
    1. [10]
      powerlanguage
      Link Parent
      Thanks Chad! Incredibly kind of you to say.

      Thanks Chad! Incredibly kind of you to say.

      56 votes
      1. Merry
        Link Parent
        Thank you for putting Wordle together. My partner and I sit down every evening before we watch our nightly episode of Poirot to play together, each taking a turn at the next word. These days its...

        Thank you for putting Wordle together. My partner and I sit down every evening before we watch our nightly episode of Poirot to play together, each taking a turn at the next word. These days its difficult to find something like this that is time-gated like family TV time back in the day and that doesn't try keeping us on a site longer than we need to be.

        Kudos to you!

        14 votes
      2. Thrabalen
        Link Parent
        I've only recently gotten into Wordle, and while I don't know how much longer I'll have access to it, I want to thank you for a very engrossing word puzzle game. I eagerly await every midnight....

        I've only recently gotten into Wordle, and while I don't know how much longer I'll have access to it, I want to thank you for a very engrossing word puzzle game. I eagerly await every midnight. Also, as others have said, congratulations on the payday. I'm annoyed it's the NYT (and their paywall), but I don't blame you even one iota, I'm sure I would have done the same in a heartbeat.

        11 votes
      3. th0mcat
        Link Parent
        Thanks for Wordle, glad you got paid!

        Thanks for Wordle, glad you got paid!

        9 votes
      4. Autoxidation
        Link Parent
        Myself, my wife, and my coworkers have really enjoyed playing Wordle the past couple of weeks. Thanks for creating something simple and awesome!

        Myself, my wife, and my coworkers have really enjoyed playing Wordle the past couple of weeks. Thanks for creating something simple and awesome!

        7 votes
      5. [3]
        hungariantoast
        Link Parent
        First, I just want to say I don't blame you at all for choosing to sell. If I were ever lucky enough to be in that position I can easily imagine myself making the same choice. But that's why I...

        First, I just want to say I don't blame you at all for choosing to sell. If I were ever lucky enough to be in that position I can easily imagine myself making the same choice.

        But that's why I want to ask, in case I ever do find myself in your position:

        Did you have any concerns about selling the game and what that might entail, for example, as far as peoples' ability to access and play it?

        I can understand how it might have been a very plain and easy choice to make, especially given the money involved. I guess I'm just looking for a bit of insight into the process and what went through your head, how you arrived at the decision, etc, in case I ever find myself in a similar spot.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          Deimos
          Link Parent
          I don't know if powerlanguage will (or should) answer questions like that while this is still so fresh, but I think a really important factor is that outside of some weird patent cases, you can't...

          I don't know if powerlanguage will (or should) answer questions like that while this is still so fresh, but I think a really important factor is that outside of some weird patent cases, you can't really "own" game mechanics. Anyone could make an exact clone of Wordle whenever they want, and there are already a lot of them out there (ones in different languages, ones with specific themes to their words, etc.). That applies to the New York Times too, of course—they were free to just make their own version instead of buying Wordle itself.

          So what they're really buying isn't so much the game, but the name-recognition and overall virality of it right now. That's really the only part they care about purchasing, and this is almost certainly going to be the peak for those aspects. I'm sure there's a sizeable number of people that would have kept playing the game indefinitely, but it's extremely unlikely there's ever going to be a "second wave of Wordle" in the future that gets anywhere near this level. It's everywhere right now. Talk show hosts are playing it on the air. So if he had any willingness to sell at all, this would be the time.

          And in the future, even if the NYT does restrict access to it, any group of people that want to keep playing together can just move over to one of the clones. As long as they're all on the same one and it has a similar sharing feature for them to compare their results, it's basically exactly the same. So selling it won't even really restrict anyone's access to the game itself in any meaningful way, only to the "brand name version".

          21 votes
          1. archevel
            Link Parent
            An example of an owned game mechanic is the nemesis system. It's unfortunate that this patent exists since it limits what kinds of games people are able to create legitimately. Would be nice if...

            [...] I think a really important factor is that outside of some weird patent cases, you can't really "own" game mechanics.

            An example of an owned game mechanic is the nemesis system. It's unfortunate that this patent exists since it limits what kinds of games people are able to create legitimately. Would be nice if software (like other math) wasn't patentable. Anyway, congrats to powerlanguage!

            10 votes
      6. kwyjibo
        Link Parent
        Every day I look forward to the clock hitting 00:00 on my phone so I can open Wordle and play anew. Your game brought joy to my life and I hope this deal does the same to you. Thank you.

        Every day I look forward to the clock hitting 00:00 on my phone so I can open Wordle and play anew. Your game brought joy to my life and I hope this deal does the same to you. Thank you.

        5 votes
      7. shiruken
        Link Parent
        Thank you for creating World, it's been a fun activity for me and my friends the past few weeks!

        Thank you for creating World, it's been a fun activity for me and my friends the past few weeks!

        3 votes
    2. bkimmel
      Link Parent
      Oh wow, I was just thinking about Place the other day (that was the one where everyone got to draw with pixels right?). That was such a fun idea, totally makes sense it came from the same place as...

      Oh wow, I was just thinking about Place the other day (that was the one where everyone got to draw with pixels right?). That was such a fun idea, totally makes sense it came from the same place as Wordle.

      6 votes
    3. kwyjibo
      Link Parent
      Despite being a NYT Crossword subscriber, I was rather upset hearing the news for most of the reasons people have already stated. For me personally, Wordle reminds me of the old internet where...

      Despite being a NYT Crossword subscriber, I was rather upset hearing the news for most of the reasons people have already stated. For me personally, Wordle reminds me of the old internet where people did things just because they were fun with no monetization scheme behind it and they shared the fun. I felt like getting bought by the New York Times tainted that innocence a bit. It burst that bubble of escape that, evident by Wordle's success, a lot of people crave right now. Reading your comment did made me feel better about the news. I hope the NYT treat the game with care that it deserves.

      5 votes
    4. HotPants
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      There are a lot of variants ...which is funny, because I just tried Wordle last night, and was convinced Wordle hated me by picking a word with only a single vowel. But it's also odd. NY Times...

      There are a lot of variants

      Lewdle only accepts words that are “lewd”

      Absurdle hates you and doesn’t want you to win so it’ll do anything to prevent that, including changing the word you’re actually guessing.

      ...which is funny, because I just tried Wordle last night, and was convinced Wordle hated me by picking a word with only a single vowel.

      But it's also odd. NY Times could have built their own variant. Why did they buy Wordle?

      I don't understand NY Times strategy.

      The New York Times on Monday said they had bought the game for 'low seven figures' as part of their aim of attracting more subscribers

      It's not clear how Wordle will help them attract more subscribers. It also sounds like they did not acquire the most valuable asset, Josh Wardle himself?

      He came up with the plans for some of the most memorable events on Reddit with The Button and Place

      Low seven figures is an aweful lot to pay for a million eye balls.

      4 votes
  2. wycy
    Link
    It's noted that NYT will keep the game free "initially"--so not good long term prospects. Still, I don't blame the creator for selling. I would've done so in a heartbeat. And he probably sold at...

    It's noted that NYT will keep the game free "initially"--so not good long term prospects. Still, I don't blame the creator for selling. I would've done so in a heartbeat. And he probably sold at the exact right time, too. Kudos.

    9 votes
  3. [4]
    autumn
    Link
    I’m really happy for the guy and totally get it, but I’m selfishly worried it’s going to be another victim of capitalism covered in advertisements and/or paywalled. I hope it doesn’t come to that!

    I’m really happy for the guy and totally get it, but I’m selfishly worried it’s going to be another victim of capitalism covered in advertisements and/or paywalled. I hope it doesn’t come to that!

    6 votes
    1. herson
      Link Parent
      Well, the article itself about it is behind a paywall, so I wouldn't be optimistic about it.

      Well, the article itself about it is behind a paywall, so I wouldn't be optimistic about it.

      4 votes
    2. LukeZaz
      Link Parent
      Personally, I think they'll try, but I'm not so confident it'll work out for them. Wordle already has so many clones that any attempt to restrict access or pepper it with annoyances will likely...

      Personally, I think they'll try, but I'm not so confident it'll work out for them. Wordle already has so many clones that any attempt to restrict access or pepper it with annoyances will likely just drive much of the userbase away to the next best alternative.

      4 votes
    3. teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      I'm sure it'll be paywalled just like NYT's other games.

      I'm sure it'll be paywalled just like NYT's other games.

      1 vote
  4. Cycloneblaze
    Link
    I have to wonder how long the creator has been fending off requests to sell and/or monetise the game for. I guess NYT is a good fit (and they certainly have deep enough pockets). I have to admit...

    I have to wonder how long the creator has been fending off requests to sell and/or monetise the game for. I guess NYT is a good fit (and they certainly have deep enough pockets).

    I have to admit part of me is glad to see the creator get some concrete reward for viral success. I feel it's deserved, and it doesn't happen often enough! My mind was definitely a bit blown when I put two and two together and realised this was the same guy responsible for both The Button and Place, both of which were equally clever and charming as Wordle is, and collaborative in a wholesome way. So triply deserved there.

    It is a bit sad that everything good - certainly everything viral, but also everything good - on the internet trends towards being a source of cash, though. Nothing can just be what it is; not even Wordle, which seemed hitherto stubbornly bare and final. No ads, no extra features, no sequels, no paywalls, no upgrades - just a standalone, fun, popular thing. Not even this could persist without being exploited, like a natural resource. I don't religiously play Wordle or anything, but when it inevitably gets paywalled, I will regret that.

    also, neat that powerlanguage is here! well done, mate!

    6 votes
  5. PrancingPony
    Link
    Wordle has become such a fun thing to do each day.

    Wordle has become such a fun thing to do each day.

    1 vote