Welsh creator of Wordle sells the game for at least $1m after its success becomes ‘overwhelming’
The Welsh creator of the game Wordle has sold it to the New York Times for at least $1m.
Josh Wardle, who lives in Brooklyn, but grew up in Llanddewi Rhydderch, near Abergavenny, said that the success of the game had become “a little overwhelming”.
The New York Times said it has acquired the game for a price tag “in the low seven figures”.
They said that Wordle would remain free to play for now and no changes would be made to its gameplay. The game has spread virally due it setting the same word for everyone each day and allowing everyone to share their route to success – or not – on social media.
Josh Wardle said that the sale was a response to the fact that the game had become “bigger than I ever imagined,” which wasn’t much of a feat, he said, as he created it for his girlfriend.
“It has been incredible to watch a game bring so much joy to so many, and I feel so grateful for the personal stories some of you have shared with me – from Wordle uniting distant family members, to provoking friendly rivalries, to supporting medical recoveries,” he said.
“On the flip side, I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t been a little overwhelming. After all, I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone.
“Given this, 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. If you’ve followed along with the story of Wordle, you’ll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this step feels very natural to me.
“I’ve long admired the NYT’s approach to their games and the respect with which they treat their players. Their values are aligned with mine on these matters and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.
“When the game moves to the NYT site, it will be free to play for everyone, and I am working with them to make sure your wins and streaks will be preserved.
Thank you all for playing and making Wordle an unforgettable experience.”
Josh Wardle, who went King Henry VIII School in Abergavenny, went on to study Media Arts, at Royal Holloway, University of London.
He has worked for the likes of tech giant Reddit, and Pinterest, said that he and his partner played it for fun on their sofa, and other users began to join them, with the game going on to become an unexpected viral hit.
On the success of Wordle, he told The Guardian earlier this month: “It going viral doesn’t feel great to be honest. I feel a sense of responsibility for the players. I feel I really owe it to them to keep things running and make sure everything’s working correctly.”
But he added that he takes comfort in knowing that the game has helped people at a difficult time, saying: “I get emails from people who say things like ‘hey, we can’t see our parents due to Covid at the moment but we share our Wordle results each day’.
“During this weird situation it’s a way for people to connect in a low effort, low friction way.”
“Even though I play it every day, I still feel a sense of accomplishment when I do it: it makes me feel smart, and people like that.”
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