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Wordle brought 'tens of millions' of users to The New York Times

Many players stuck around, too.

Woman plays Wordle on her smartphone from the living room of her home on 21st April 2022 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Wordle is a web-based word game played by millions of users / players worldwide often on their mobile devices. The game was created and developed by software engineer Josh Wardle, and owned by The New York Times Company since 2022. (photo by Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images
Jon Fingas
Jon Fingas|@jonfingas|May 4, 2022 11:13 AM

The New York Times' purchase of Wordle appears to have paid off, at least in the near term. The newspaper has revealed that it added "tens of millions" of new users in the first quarter of 2022 thanks to Josh Wardle's hit word game. That led to the company's best quarter yet for subscriber additions to games, and "many" of those incoming players have remained to try other games.

The surge came alongside an otherwise strong quarter that included 387,000 new digital subscribers (including those from The Athletic). The Times reported a jump to 9.1 million subscribers, with digital revenue climbing by 26 percent. The buyouts helped slash the company's net profit to $4.7 million versus $41.1 million a year earlier.

The surge in users isn't exactly shocking. The paper bought a hugely popular game at the height of its success, and that demand continued throughout the quarter. The question, of course, is whether or not the deal will be worthwhile in the long run. It's not certain if Wordle will remain the sensation it has been, and it's no secret that the Times is still better-known for its crossword puzzle than the other games in its repertoire. With that said, the original Wordle has survived an onslaught of clones — it stands a better chance at enduring success than some viral games.

Wordle brought 'tens of millions' of users to The New York Times