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New York Times acquisition of Wordle draws backlash from fans According to Reuters


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 3, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

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By Supantha Mukherjee and Tiyashi Datta

The New York Times Co’s acquisition of Wordle has created an uproar on social media, with fans voicing concern that the popular online puzzle game is now free to play. fees, which can be placed behind a fee wall.

Announcing on Monday that it had purchased Wordle for an undisclosed price in the low seven figures, the Times said the “original” game remains free for existing and new players alike.

That wording led some social media users to think that the media company would soon allow access only to subscribers.

“I have never seen Twitter (NYSE:) as angry as when talking about the acquisition of NYT Wordle,” one user tweeted. “The NYT took something cool and simple that a lot of people really enjoyed, a bit of stupid fun in our weary dark ages, and implied they were going to stick it behind a wall of fees.”

After creating Wordle to play with his girlfriend Palak Shah, software engineer Josh Wardle released it to the public in October. Within a few months, it became a global phenomenon, with celebrities like such Trevor Noah joins the group.

The once-a-day online game gives players six chances to find a five-letter word, using the fewest guesses.

“I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t a bit overwhelming,” Wardle said in a Twitter post. “After all, I’m just one person, and it’s important to me that, as Wordle grows, it will continue to provide a great experience for everyone.”

The Times said it hopes the acquisition will expand its digital content as it tries to hit its goal of 10 million subscribers by 2025.

The newspaper was an early adopter of a fee wall when it launched its digital subscription scheme in 2011. That strategy has helped it combat the decline in print revenue and build a digital business.

It has also bought into other digital media such as subscription-based audio app Audm and product review site Wirecutter. Last month, the company agreed to pay $550 million in cash for sports website The Athletic.

As the Times is also looking to grow its paying readership outside of its core news content, games and quizzes have become an important part of its audience engagement strategy across apps and sites. its web.

Its Games unit, which has over a million subscriptions, started with the Daily Crossword, and later launched games like Spelling Bee, Tiles, Letter Boxed and Vertex (NASDAQ:).

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