Wordle New York Times deal: has words game changed its Power Language website - can you still play in the UK?

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A new app could be in the works, but the NYT says there are ‘no plans’ for changes

Popular online game Wordle has moved to its new home as part of The New York Times.

Entering the puzzle’s usual “Power Language” URL now redirects users to nytimes.com/games/wordle.

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US-based software engineer Josh Wardle - who lives in New York but was born in Wales - decided to sell the virtual puzzle in January after it snowballed and became “overwhelming” to run.

Wardle announced the move on Twitter, thanking users for sharing touching stories about the effect the game has had on their lives and relationships and adding that he was “thrilled” about the takeover.

“Since launching Wordle, I have been in awe of the response of everyone that has played,” he said. “The game has gotten bigger than I ever imagined (which I suppose isn’t that much of a feat given I made the game for an audience of one).

“I am just one person, and it is important to me that, as Wordle grows, it continues to provide a great experience to everyone.”

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The NYT said the ad-free website, which was launched in October 2021 and now has millions of daily players, was bought for a sum “in the low seven figures”.

But will the game remain free to play?

Here is everything you need to know about it.

Will the game remain free?

Part of Wordle’s charm lies in its simplicity. The game is free to play on an uncluttered website with no unnecessary distractions or visual flourishes.

But the NYT’s acquisition of the popular puzzle has led to concerns that Wordle might not always be free in the future, and could one day be locked behind a paywall.

A mobile phone shows the screen of the popular online game Wordle. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA WireA mobile phone shows the screen of the popular online game Wordle. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
A mobile phone shows the screen of the popular online game Wordle. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The NYT has said Wordle will “ initially remain free to new and existing players”.

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The key word here is “initially” - the NYT currently provides games including Spelling Bee, Letter Boxed, Tiles and Vertex, which are behind a paywall.

Jonathan Knight, the general manager for games at The New York Times Company, said the firm was “thrilled” to be adding Wordle to its portfolio and confirmed it had “no plans at this time” to change the game’s free-to-play nature.

“At this time.”

Knight told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he is “so impressed” by the game, and thinks it is “an incredible story”.

“It’s a game that brought us all together and that’s what’s just so special about it,” he said. “It’s one word a day and it’s the same word for everybody and we’re all trying to figure it out together.

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“It’s just incredibly clever and I think it’s a game that we all needed because it just brings us together.”

Will my progress carry over?

The game has now moved from its first home of the Power Language website to the NYT’s website.

The game had kept a tally of your performance, letting you know not just how many Wordles you’ve solved in the past, but what percentage of those solutions were found after four tries, five tries, and so on.

So have those stats remain once the game jumps to its new home?

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Wardle had said that he was trying to make sure players’ wins and win streaks move over to the new platform, and from our experience, it looks as though they have done with no issues.

Will the game change?

No changes are expected to be made to Wordle’s gameplay, and a New York Times spokesperson has said the company doesn’t currently have any “set plans for the game’s future.”

What is Wordle?

Wordle is an online brain teaser which lies somewhere between a crossword and a sudoku puzzle.

Anyone who knows the game Mastermind, which employs the use of coloured pegs, will instantly be familiar with the premise of Wordle.

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The objective of the game is to guess the secret word in six tries, using a series of hints to figure it out.

  • If any of your letters are highlighted as green, that means that you’ve got the right letter in the right place.
  • If any of the letters are highlighted as yellow, that means that those letters are in the word, but they’re currently in the wrong place.
  • Finally, if any of your letters are highlighted as grey, it means that those letters aren’t included anywhere in the secret word.

You can play Wordle on the Power Language website. There is only one puzzle released each day, so you’ll need to check the website again the following day to continue playing along.

Users are sharing how many tries it took for them to crack the puzzle on social media, as, after it’s been solved, the website offers players the option to share their results.

This share option generates an emoji grid which replicates the colour pattern found on your completed puzzle, using the black, yellow and green emoji boxes.

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Sharing like this allows players to share their results entirely spoiler-free. Users will also include what edition of Wordle it is and how many guesses they took, for example, “Wordle 187 4/6”.

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