It's the simple word game that's gone viral in 2022, but many people are still learning what Wordle is and how to play.
You might have seen those tiny red, amber and green tiles shared on the group chat or posted on social media and wondered what it could be. Or watched your colleague frantically google search a number of 5-letter words? If that's the case, chances are they're obsessed with the game of the moment: Wordle.
The simple word game is a great 5-minute daily brain-teaser to do on your lunchbreak or commute. And parents might find it to be a fun car game for kids (opens in new tab) too, helping to keep them quiet and entertained on the school run. If you haven't tried your hand at the online game as yet, here's what you need to know to play along.
What is Wordle and how do you play it?
Wordle is an online 5-letter word game. Each day a new word is released and players have six attempts to guess what the word of the day is. During the guesses, tiles will change colour to help players get the word. A grey letter means it isn't in today's word, whilst a yellow letter signals it is in the word but in the wrong position. Then there's the green letter which means it's in the word and in the right place.
Players select letters of the alphabet on the virtual keyboard and enter them into the 5 blank tiles. When they're happy with their 5-letter word guess, they press the submit button. This then checks the word and lets you know if your word or some of the letters are correct. If it's completely right - the full 5 letters turn green.
If you correctly guess the word within the 6 attempts, then you win the game. If you win two days in a row or more, you automatically receive a winning streak. This keeps rolling over, unless you fail to guess the word one day and the streak is broken.
It's proved to be a very popular game, with 300,000 players reported at the beginning of January. It's now believed that over 2 million users are playing Wordle globally.
How to get the Wordle game?
Wordle is available to play online only. It is accessed via the webpage www.powerlanguage.co.uk/wordle (opens in new tab). And players return to this page everyday to guess the new word-of-the-day.
Many leave the webpage as an open tab on their phone to keep their winning streak going.
Who plays Wordle?
The beauty of Wordle is that anyone can play. There's no set age restrictions, but we reckon it's suitable (and playable) by kids aged 6 and above. Several celebrities have also publicly shared that they're a fan of the word game.
Pointless host Richard Osman, Countdown's Susie Dent and BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker (opens in new tab) have all praised the game on social media, often sharing their results. Whilst across the pond, US talk show host Jimmy Fallon is a fan. He even played along live during a recording of The Tonight Show.
Who invented Wordle?
Wordle was created by Welsh-born Josh Wardle, a former employee at social news website Reddit. The software engineer first came up with the game in 2013, creating a prototype for his friends to play. But they didn't take to it and he retired it. Josh revisited the game again during the pandemic and after proving popular with family members, he decided to take it public.
"Last year, my partner and I got really into crosswords and word games and I wanted a game for us to play each morning as part of our routine," he told BBC's Today programme.
Josh, who studied in London before moving to the US to complete a master's degree in 2008, has been bowled over by the global response.
"Since launching Wordle, I've been in awe of the response from everyone that has played," he tweeted. "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 1)."
He added that it's been "incredible" to watch the game bringing so much joy. And was pleased to hear personal stories of how the game has helped people, including players recovering from surgery.
Though Josh invented the game he no longer owns Wordle. A very famous company bought the rights to the game in early 2022.
How much was Wordle sold for?
The New York Times bought Wordle from Josh Wardle in February 2022. Though an exact figure wasn't shared, Wordle sold the game for a price "in the low seven figures". The creator shared news of the deal on his Twitter account.
In the tweet, Josh explained that he was pleased to sell his creation to The New York Times as it influenced the game from the start: "If you've followed along with the story of Wordle, you'll know that NYT games play a big part in its origins and so this steps feels very natural to me," he tweeted.
"I've long admired the NYT's approach to their games and the respect with which they treat their players. Their values are aligned with mine on these matters nand I'm thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward."
The New York Times confirmed the sale. And shared that Wordle will join their online Games portfolio (opens in new tab):
“If you’re like me, you probably wake up every morning thinking about Wordle, and savouring those precious moments of discovery, surprise and accomplishment," said Jonathan Knight, general manager for The New York Times Games section.
"We could not be more thrilled to become the new home and proud stewards of this magical game, and are honored to help bring Josh Wardle’s cherished creation to more solvers in the months ahead."
Will Wordle no longer be free?
No, Wordle will continue to be available to play for free when it moves to The New York Times. This has both been confirmed in statements by the newspaper and game creator Josh Wardle.
Wordle players were initially worried that a fee to play Wordle would happen. This is because in order to play The New York Times games you have to be a paid subscriber.
"At the time it moves to The New York Times, Wordle will be free to play for new and existing players, and no changes will be made to its gameplay," confirmed the paper in a press release (opens in new tab).
Josh also re-iterated that Wordle will remain "free for everyone". He added that he was also working with the company to keep the wins and streaks preserved.
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In a interview prior to the sale, Josh shared that he never had any intention of charging people to play Wordle:
"I don't understand why something can't just be fun," he said. "I don't have to charge people money for this and ideally would like to keep it that way."