Wordle has become an internet phenomenon, not following many of the usual digital rules.
Blatantly simple, web-based rather than app-based, and with a creator who didn’t want it to become addictive, despite many craving more than one puzzle a day, or burdened by ads or data-gathering, it nevertheless amassed million users. in just a few months, in part because the answer tables could be shared on social media.
And then, in true Internet fashion, it was sold, in this case, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum to the New York Times (NYT).
Designed by Reddit engineer Josh Wardle, to play with your partner, in lockdown, Wordle offers just one hidden five-letter word each day.
Players enter guesses on a grid. If any of the letters are in the word for that day but in the wrong place, they turn gold If they are in the word in the right place, they turn green If they are not in the word, they turn gray. They have all day to guess, but only six tries.
The news of the game’s sale has left many fans reeling. Some feel that their creator deserves his reward. I’m happy for Mr Wordle,” one tweeted. He made a game for his partner because she loved puns, then shared it with all of us for free. Now, he gets a million dollars windfall, because he loved someone.” People care’ But many aren’t convinced the NYT’s promise to keep gambling free will last long Susie Dent of Channel 4’s Countdown hopes it will stay “free and on the web”.
But Nick Bowman, associate professor of creative media industries at Texas Tech University, told BBC News: “Even though the New York Times has promised the game will be free, people worry about the other costs that could come up. If users had to start sharing data to play the game or if they had to create usernames and profiles or if the game started incorporating advertising cookies, I suspect it might lose some of its appeal.”