Merriam-Webster, the subsidiary of Encyclopædia Britannica best known for its online dictionary, has acquired a popular Wordle clone called Quordle. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Little fanfare was made around the acquisition, but Quordle’s website now redirects to its own space on the Merriam-Website, while Quordle creator Freddie Meyer quietly released this statement at the top of the Quordle tutorial section.
I am delighted to announce that Quordle has been acquired by Merriam-Webster! I can’t think of a better home for this game. Lots of new features and fun to come, so stay tuned!
Quordle is one of many forgeries that have emerged following Wordle’s rise to worldwide fame. Wordle, for the uninitiated, is a simple web game that gives users six attempts to guess a five-letter word, with color-coded clues serving as feedback if they get one of the letters correct. The New York Times bought Wordle last January for a seven-figure sum, and in the months that followed, the game apparently attracted millions of new subscribers to the NYT game offering. The media giant then integrated Wordle into its crossword app and even turned Wordle into a physical board game.
Quordle, for its part, relies on the basic concept of Wordle, except there are four five-letter words to guess at once, with just nine tries. Each guess must be an authentic word, and each guess applies to each of the four words – the tiles change color to indicate to the user which guesses are correct and if a letter exists in that word but in a different position.
After arriving on the scene last February, just a month after the NYT Quordle reportedly mentioned 1 million players in two months. But like Wordle, Quordle wasn’t much more than a passion project, with creator Meyer saying he had “no intention of monetizing Quordle,” according to reports at the time. That said, the developers have included on-page advertisements as an alternative to soliciting donations to cover costs.
Fast forward to today, and Quordle is now in the hands of Merriam-Webster, a brand that has evolved beyond its printed dictionary foundations that began nearly two centuries ago, to include its first website in 1996, followed by many tangential language-focused digital services such as vocabulary app for kids. Among its online properties is a NYTstyle games and quiz portal, where Quordle will now reside.
It’s also worth noting here that Spotify acquired a Wordle-inspired guessing game called Heardle last summer, if we needed further evidence of Wordle’s long-term cultural and technological impact.
TechCrunch has reached out to Merriam-Webster for comment and will update if – or when – we receive a response.
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