Wordle: Success, Cheats and Acquisition

British engineer, Josh Wardle, first contemplated the idea of creating Wordle all the way back in 2013. However, at the time, he was quick to dismiss it and put it indefinitely on the backburner. It was only seven years later that he finally decided to design the game so that he could play it with his wife. Little did he know that the game would prove to be such a success: in no time at all, it expanded from being the couple’s private leisure activity to being shared with family members on WhatsApp.

Soon after, Wordle — a game whose name results from the combination of the words ‘word’ and ‘puzzle’— moved to an online version, accessible to everyone on the internet. In early November 2021, there were only about 90 players. Two months later, however, it was estimated that more than 300,000 people were visiting the page daily. Currently, the game is renowned as a worldwide sensation, spawning versions in several languages.

The rules of the game are simple: each player must guess the secret word with five letters and has only six attempts to do so. In each attempt, different colors highlight specific letters, they’ll turn green if you got the letter and position right; yellow if the letter is part of the word but is in the wrong place; and grey if the letter is not part of the word. But that’s not all, to spice things up, other significant aspects were added. Firstly, there is a new word every 24 hours, meaning that users can only play once a day. Secondly, the secret word is the same for all players, which makes Wordle a sort of viral competition.

Now, Wordle isn’t entirely new, but rather an adaptation of pre-existing game show concepts, such as Lingo, which has the same principles but adds a cash prize for winners.

Of course, there are plenty of puzzles for cash prizes at Genesis Casino in the UK, which features popular shows such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in their online slot selection and boast a number of other game show-inspired titles sure to get people’s brains working.


Cheats and Tricks 

Where Wordle really shines is in catering to the competitive spirit of its players. For example, the possibility of sharing the game summary, in the form of a colorful panel that represents the various attempts at the final solution – and without spoilers – has been a massive success. It was the option to share this panel that, according to the creator of Wordle himself, boosted the dissemination of the game all over the world.

On the other hand, with the popularisation of Wordle, internet and social media users were quick to try and break the patterns of the game. Several media outlets such as Wired have gone into great detail on the best strategies to win your daily challenge, including the best approaches to write the initial word.

In addition, several mainstream YouTubers have taken on social media to share their tricks and hacks, the number of vowels you should be using, and the most common letters in the English dictionary. However, these tips haven’t stopped users from continuing to play the game, using their own strategies.

The New York Times Acquisition

All the hype around Wordle has attracted the attention of several big companies to the potential of the game. As a result, in January, the New York Times announced the purchase of the game, as reported by various outlets including The Verge. The exact value of the transaction was not made public, but in the official statement released by the media outlet an amount of “seven digits” is cited, indicating that this was a multimillion deal.

It is understood that The New York Times’ goal with the acquisition is to increase the number of paid subscribers on their website — the goal is to reach 10 million by 2025. NYT is known for its famous crossword puzzles, but also for an expansive game section that can be found on NYT’s website, which includes games such as spelling bee, Sudoku, tiles, among others. While some of these games can be played for free, unlimited access requires a paid subscription. Nonetheless, NYT has given assurances that, for now, Wordle will remain free for all.

One thing’s for sure, Wordle is only getting started and even if some users have “cracked” the game, most players still prefer to challenge themselves. With all the hype still in full swing, the game’s popularity isn’t expected to stop rising any time soon.


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