Wordle Grabbed Us…& It’s Letting Go Soon

It’s going the way of Some Good News.

Jyssica Schwartz

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Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer, created Wordle as a fun game for his partner in October 2021 before releasing it to the public.

According to News National, there were only 90 players by November 1, 2021. 60 days later, that number had risen to 300,000. By the end of January 2022, millions of people were playing the one-puzzle-per-day game and sharing the grids of their success on social media. It certainly didn’t hurt that the New York Times gave Wordle an online shout-out in November.

Wordle 243 6/6 (mine today, 2/17/2022)

⬜🟨⬜⬜🟩
⬜⬜⬜⬜🟨
🟨🟨⬜⬜⬜
⬜🟩🟩🟨🟩
🟩🟩🟩⬜🟩
🟩🟩🟩🟩🟩

Since it was just Josh’s gift to his partner, the game uses only US-English spellings and has a bank of 2,315 words that could be the answer.

In January 2022, Wardle said he had no plans to monetize the game.

Wordle’s popularity sprang up quickly. One day, I’d never heard of it. The next, a tsunami of grids covered my Twitter feed. I showed it to my colleagues and we now have a dedicated #wordle channel on Slack to share our daily gridded wins and losses.

Fun Fact: a different word-based puzzle app called Wordle! was already available in the app store. Created by Steven Cravotta, it is an entirely different game — but Wardle and Cravotta have now teamed up to donate money to a charity called BoostOakland benefitting kids in Oakland, CA.

On January 31, 2022, The New York Times announced it had purchased Wordle from Wardle for something in the “low seven figures.”

And that is when some cracks appeared.

Wordle was fun while it lasted, but as someone who is not a NYT subscriber, I can only assume that soon the game will be behind the paywall. They are leaving it free “for now,” just a teaser to get players to subscribe, I’m sure.

NYT removed curse words from the Wordle bank and some players found that their “streak” and other game stats reset when it moved onto the NYT site.

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Jyssica Schwartz

Entrepreneur, writer, editor, book coach, cat lover, weirdo, optimist. Author of “Write. Get Paid. Repeat.” & “Concept to Conclusion.” jyssicaschwartz.com