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.
Just how popular is Wordle? The NYT says in its Q1 earnings report that "Wordle brought an unprecedented tens of millions of new users to The Times, many of whom stayed to play other games which drove our best quarter ever for net subscriber additions to Games..."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 4, 2022