Why I'm Optimistic About Wordle's Acquisition

Josh Wardle, creator of Wordle:

I am incredibly pleased to announce that I’ve reached an agreement with The New York Times for them to take over running Wordle going forward.

Twitter is predictably up in arms about the notion that Wordle will be behind a paywall by the end of the business week. I don’t think this will happen, and while I’m not thrilled this indie gem is now owned by a huge corporation, I remain quite optimistic about the future of our favorite one-JavaScript-file webpage.

What’ll happen to Wordle? Well, we can’t be sure, but we can form an educated guess by looking at NYT’s model for their most comparable game, The Daily Mini Crossword. The current day’s Mini is free to play for all in their rather good and polished app, and then you can pay five bucks a month for unlimited access to an archive of all crosswords. This is the route I think NYT will take with Wordle; today’s Wordle is free, and you can get access to an archive and maybe some Wordle spin-off games under that $5/month games subscription.

While I’ll miss the charming and humble powerlanguage.co.uk domain in which Wordle lives at the time of writing, I would appreciate a dedicated app with the polish of NYT Crosswords. If Wordle loses a dark appearance option, you will find me marching into the Times’ HQ, though.

I did find myself wondering if Wordle has lost its charm, or if it will the moment it moves. And then I don’t care. Wordle had a splendid moment. I’d rather this moment end abruptly than fizzle out so its cultural significance is remembered fondly and nostalgically in infamy. I’ll keep playing Wordle every day for the same reason I play the Mini crossword every day; not because people are talking about it on Twitter but because I like the game.

Finally, I’m happy for Josh Wardle. I’ve respected him for abstaining from adding advertisements or monetizing at all. I can’t say I would have resisted the urge in his shoes. This 7-figure deal is not just a well-deserved win for him, but the whole indie (game) dev community.

Wordle 226 5/6*

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