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Wordle scores “tens of millions” new readers to The New York Times

Wordle-The-New-York-Times-New-Readers-thefutureparty
Wordle // Illustration by Kate Walker

Wordle scores “tens of millions” new readers to The New York Times

 

Future. Wordle continues its streak as the hottest puzzle game in the world in more ways than one — it’s netted The New York Times tens of millions of new subscribers and potentially hundreds of millions in revenue. Not bad for a game designed by a software engineer just trying to entertain his partner during the pandemic. What Wordle’s blockbuster success may show is that creating a cultural moment, that everyone can share at the same time, may be the best way to generate buzz.

Good guess

The Wordle of the day for NYT is “success.”

  • Three months ago, NYT purchased Josh Wardle’s hit word game, Wordle, for a “low seven figures.
  • Now, the publisher says the game has brought “an unprecedented tens of millions of new users to The Times.”
  • That’s the best quarter in subscriber gains for the Games division.

TechCrunch notes that a subscription to Games costs $5 per month, or $40 per year — so on the low side of both new users and subscription costs, NYT just brought in another $400 million in revenue this year. Wow.

Shared language

So, how did Wordle get so popular? A look at data from Twitter may shed some light.

  • A study published by Twitter data scientist Lauren Fratamico found that, since October, 32.2 million tweets have been about Wordle — mostly users sharing their scores.
  • Those tweets have been seen 6.6 trillion times, racked up 58 million likes, and have been replied to 9 million times.
  • At peak popularity in January (around the time of NYT’s purchase), tweets about Wordle numbered 500,000 a day. They’ve only dropped to about 200,000 since then.

What makes Wordle so perfect for Twitter? For one, it’s  incredibly easy for users to tweet out their daily Wordle grid. And, secondly, everyone is given the same word that they can only play once to get right — sharing scores automatically creates a sense of competition and community.

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