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Will Wordle stay free? Fans react to The New York Times buying viral word game

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 2/1/2022 Brett Molina, USA TODAY
Once you guess a word in the online game Wordle, you will receive feedback telling you which letters, if any, are in the correct place. © Screenshot via Wordle at www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle/ Once you guess a word in the online game Wordle, you will receive feedback telling you which letters, if any, are in the correct place.

Is our time spent racking brains on free daily Wordle puzzles coming to an end?

On Monday, The New York Times confirmed it is buying Wordle, the viral word game that has captured our attention since early January.

Wordle is a browser-based game where players have to guess a five-letter word in six tries. Part of its popularity stems from social media posts featuring the process players used to solve – or not solve – that day's puzzle.

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The Times said it had acquired the game from creator Josh Wardle for a price "in the low seven figures." The newspaper said Wordle will initially stay free for new and existing players.

Reaction to the acquisition has been mixed. Many players worry it will be only a matter of time before Wordle either requires users to pay or to create an account with their email so they can  play.

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Wrote one Twitter user who goes by the handle @carlneedscoffee: "fitting that the NY Times would bring an end to the only lighthearted universally shared reality we have."


Video: New York Times buys Wordle, enrages fans (Reuters)

"I was waiting for our Wordle fun to be ruined by a big company, just like everything else," wrote another user who goes by the handle @loveholliejo. "And here it is. It was nice while it lasted."

But others supported Wardle's decision to cash in on the game's success, especially at a time when countless variations of the game have surfaced on browsers and smartphones. Last month, Apple confirmed it had removed multiple apps that ripped off the game.

"That's a life-changing sum of money," wrote Twitter user @Felgraf_Physics. "I wouldn't be able to blame you even if they said they were gonna monetize it IMMEDIATELY. You made a thing, people enjoyed it for free for a while, you have and had no obligation to keep doing that."

Then there are the fans who took joy in learning the last name of Wordle's creator is named Wardle.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Will Wordle stay free? Fans react to The New York Times buying viral word game

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