The purchase of the hit puzzle game Wordle was apparently a good deal for The New York Times. The company announced its quarterly results on Wednesday and credited Wordle with a huge jump in new subscribers. “Wordle has brought tens of millions of unprecedented new users to The Times,” Times CEO Meredith Kopit Levien said in a press release, “many of whom have stayed to play other games” and realized the the company’s best games-related quarter.
the Time acquired Wordle from creator Josh Wardle in January and said it paid “an undisclosed seven-figure price” to do so. Now it’s in the Time‘ collection of games, which also includes two daily crosswords, Spelling Bee, Sudoku, Vertex, Letter Boxed and Tiles. (By the way, if you’re a fan of word games and you’ve never tried Letter Boxed, it’s a good game.) They all come with a global subscription to the Timeor as a separate $5 monthly subscription.
So far the Time didn’t change Wordle much except to give it a new URL and briefly screw up everyone’s stats. (No, it didn’t make the game harder.) But he did start adding some nudges around the app to go play some of the company’s other games… and maybe you subscribe, right? It seems to work: on the whole, the Time said it added 387,000 net digital-only subscribers last quarter, though it didn’t say how many of those are Wordle gamers. the Time also offers a subscription dedicated to its culinary content, and a global digital package.
Wordle’s virality seems to have waned a bit in recent months as fewer users are sharing their daily scores in group chats and on social media. But that clearly doesn’t mean people have stopped playing. (By the way, I got Wednesday’s Wordle in two guesses. Please cheer.) And for all the many Wordle spinoffs, that’s surely a good sign. Maybe Spotify will grab Heardle to mine subscriber numbers, and maybe Frame is the solution to everything plaguing Netflix. Worldle could definitely be a Google Maps feature.
the Time has hinted in the past that he might eventually make Wordle a subscriber-only game, but didn’t say anything about his plans during his earnings call. And if the game continues to attract so many people to its ecosystem, the Time might just decide it’s better off the paywall.