(My wordle people will see what I did there with the blog title.)
NYT - The sudden hit Wordle, in which once a day players get six chances to guess a five-letter word, has been acquired by The New York Times Company.
The purchase, announced by The Times on Monday, reflects the growing importance of games, like crosswords and Spelling Bee, in the company’s quest to increase digital subscriptions to 10 million by 2025.
Wordle was acquired from its creator, Josh Wardle, a software engineer in Brooklyn, for a price “in the low seven figures,” The Times said. The company said the game would initially remain free to new and existing players.
Wordle — the name is a cheeky pun on its creator’s name — has had a striking rise. It first appeared on a no-frills, ad-free website in October, and had 90 users on Nov. 1. That number grew to 300,000 by the middle of this month, and now millions play the game daily, according to the Times announcement.
Josh fucking Wardle. Congratulations amigo.
Still not even sure who or what spurred Wordle blasting off to the moon a couple months ago but its a full-on phenomena that the NYT is for sure going to ruin by commercializing and putting it behind a paywall.
As my man Doug Coghlan said in the cinematic masterpiece Cocktail, "everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end."
This is another perfect example of history repeating itself.
Remember the app that was all the craze a few summers ago and blasted off like a rocket ship?
It was too good to be true. Everybody was addicted to it. And completely organically. No marketing. No in your face snooping facebook or Instagram ads. Just people getting hooked on it and telling all their friends.
Then what happened?
By the end of 2017, HQ Trivia and its host Rogowsky became a cultural phenomenon. Some of its games were able to attract over 700,000 concurrent players. With the exponential rise in users, the app also experienced more and more technical issues. Its streams were often getting laggy, and at times, even completely crashing down (and thus had to be restarted).
Regardless of those issues, the 1st of January ended up starting with a bang. The 9 pm game that date had over one million people request to join to win a $15,000 cash prize. HQ Trivia doubled down on the hype by launching a separate version of its game in the UK.
After months of pitching to dozens of investors, Kroll and Yusupov were finally able to raise another round of funding (Lightspeed Ventures had initially poured $8 million into the business before it launched).
Founders Fund, the investment arm of Peter Thiel, led a $15 million round that valued HQ Trivia at a whopping $100 million – less than six months after launching (in February 2018). But HQ wouldn’t be HQ if that funding announcement didn’t come with its own set of challenges.
(If you wanna read a CRAZY story, read this piece about how HQ went down in flames. Complete with its CEO and co-founder dying in a mysterious overdose.)
Big money got involved and ruined what was initially a fun, innocent game.
Investors want to see an ROI (rightfully so) so rumors started swirling they'd launch a subscription version, while public interest began to dwindle anyway. On top of that advertisements started being inserted between questions which tarnished the game for the "HQ Purists".
Not trying to wish misfortune on anybody, especially a man who has gifted the world Wordle, but I won't be shocked if NYT's runs this baby into the ground.
If people's reactions are any indication, it's already going to be an uphill battle.
p.s. - call me a pussy, don't care. This made me think of "Cats In the Cradle"