How does Wordle make money?

Wordle is a web-based word-finding game where players receive six chances to identify a five-letter word of the day. The game was created by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle and released to the public in October 2021.

Wordle was initially intended to be used by Wardle and his partner who were both fans of the daily crossword puzzles and spelling competitions in The New York Times. When he observed that family members became obsessed with the game, Wardle released it to the public with the belief that others would also find it enjoyable. 

On November 1, 2021, Wordle had 90 players. Just over two months later, this number ballooned to more than 300,000. The game went viral on Twitter after Wardle let players share their results in the form of a colored grid emoji. In the first two weeks of 2022, 1.2 million such emojis were shared on the platform. Wardle became somewhat of an instant celebrity and copycat versions of the game started to appear in the App Store.

As the player count neared 3 million, The New York Times announced on January 31, 2022, that it had acquired Wordle for an undisclosed sum in the low seven figures. Wardle took to Twitter to explain his reasoning behind the deal, admitting that the work involved in maintaining the website became overwhelming for one person. 

Referencing the inspiration for creating the game in the first place, Wardle also noted that he “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 and I’m thrilled that they will be stewards of the game moving forward.”

Wordle revenue generation

When Wardle created Wordle, he had no intention of monetizing it. 

The game remains free to play at the time of writing, but one can foresee that the new owners will monetize the game in the near future. History has shown that monetizing popular games has proved profitable, with Flappy Birds creator Dong Nguyen raking in $50,000 per day in advertising revenue alone.

The New York Times may also monetize Wordle with a subscription fee – an approach the company has used for games like Letter Boxed and The Crossword. Having said that, it was noted that the newspaper inserted multiple ad trackers into the source code after acquisition to better serve visitors to other sections of its website. This means that, at least indirectly, The New York Times may be making money from Wordle while it decides on other revenue channels.

Key takeaways:

  • Wordle is a web-based word-finding game where players receive six chances to identify a five-letter word of the day. The game was created by Welsh software engineer Josh Wardle as a play on words of his surname.
  • Overwhelmed with the amount of work required to maintain the website, Wardle sold his game to The New York on January 31, 2022.
  • Wordle remains free to play at the time of writing, but past actions suggest The New York Times will add a subscription fee or some form of advertising in the future.

Read Next: Successful Types of Business Models You Need to Know, Snapshot Of The New York Times Business Model, Who Owns The New York Times?

Connected Business Models

New York Times Business Model

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The New York Times generated over $2 billion in revenues in 2021, $1.36 billion in subscriptions, $497 million in advertising, and $215 million in other revenues. Of the subscriptions revenues, over $773 million were generated by digital subscriptions, while printed subscriptions generated $588 million.

Gaming Business Models

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The gaming industry, part of the entertainment industry, is comprised of three main types of players. From game engines, which help developers build their games. To publishing gaming houses. And gaming consoles. While the prevailing business model for decades has been that of selling the console at cost and making money on games. Digital games changed the way games are distributed and sold, and they opened up the way to free-to-play models.

Free-to-play Business Model

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A free-to-play is a model that became particularly popular in gaming. Free-to-play is also commonly referred to as free-to-start. For instance, companies like Epic Games have launched popular games like Fortnite’s Battle Royale, which had ingrained a free-to-play model. This is a model that become extremely popular in the digital age of gaming.

Epic Games Business Model

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Epic Games is a gaming company, that develops, publishes, and distributes games. It comprises the Unreal Engine, making money through licensing agreements with developers and creators. Its games (like Fortnite) mostly follow a free-to-play model on PC and an in-app purchase model on the digital marketplace. And its storefront Epic Games Store, taking a 12% cut on games’ sales.

Play-to Earn Business Model

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The play-to-earn model is a business model allowing gamers to farm or collect cryptocurrency and NFTs that can be sold on the market. This model has become a standard already in the “crypto gaming industry,” where the blockchain-based games enable token economics to kick in as an incentives mechanism at scale for users to play and be engaged.

Axie Infinity Business Model

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Axie Infinity is an NFT-based online video game developed by Sky Mavis, a Vietnamese game studio founded by Trung Nguyen in 2018. Nguyen combined his interest in blockchain accountability and the CryptoKitties craze to launch the game in August 2018. Sky Mavis generates the bulk of its revenue via the 4.25% fee it charges on all in-game purchases. This includes land purchases, monster NFT trading, and monster breeding. Axie Infinity requires that all new players purchase three monsters to get started. Since the cost can run into hundreds of dollars, Sky Mavis will lend players the monsters and collect a 30% interest fee once the player starts earning currency.

Read Also: How Much Money Has Fortnite Made, Epic Games Business Model, Free-To-Play Business Model, Gaming Industry, EA Sports Business Model, Discord Business Model.

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