For all those who take pride in playing Quordle, a five-letter word game best known for being four times harder than Wordle, your word quest is justified. The cult dictionary brand Merriam-Webster bought the popular online puzzle and announced it on Thursday.
Merriam-Webster, which is owned by Encyclopedia Britannica, quietly bought the game, which launched shortly after Wordle became an online phenomenon in late 2021.
Quordle has a lot in common with Wordle. While Wordle asks you to solve a five-letter puzzle in five tries, Quordle asks you to solve four five-word puzzles simultaneously in nine tries.
Both provide a standard virtual keyboard, and after entering a five-letter guess, words appear on all four-word boards. The correct letters in the correct places are green, and the correct letters in the wrong places are orange. Yes, just like Wordle.
The big difference is that one set of letters immediately relates to all four puzzles, which is why Quordle is considered much more difficult. You solve four puzzles at once and in only nine tries.
The news of the acquisition was announced on Twitter by the Quordle account and now via the Quordle URL is resolved a Merriam-Webster’s URL.
I am happy to announce that Quordle has been acquired by @MerriamWebster. I can’t imagine a better home for this game. Lots of new features and fun coming soon so stay tuned!January 20, 2023
Quordle doesn’t have the same kind of rabid fan base as Wordle (perhaps it’s just too hard), but Merriam-Webster’s support could change that.
But what most people didn’t know until Friday was that Merriam-Webster bought Quordle last year.
“The founder was a big fan of us being home to the product…me and our editors were big fans. Negotiations went quickly and successfully,” Merriam-Webster CEO Gregory Barlow told me on Friday.
Barlow said after the acquisition for an undisclosed sum, the dictionary website made only subtle changes to Quordle, such as adding the Merriam-Webster logo last month. However, it was only after migrating the entire Quordle platform and URL to Merriam-Webster’s servers on Thursdays (January 19) that Quordle creator Freddie Meyer shared the news on Twitter.
While the URL is different, Quordle fans shouldn’t expect any big changes.
“I’m not planning any changes. We have some new features and maybe new game types will come, but the core game that people play every day, I wouldn’t expect it to change.”
More importantly, Merriam-Webster has no plans to put Quordle behind a paywall. This should please many dedicated players. According to Barlow, 29.7 million users have played Quordle 410 million times in the last six months.
Any concerns, I asked Barlow, if The New York Times will now go after the more famous Quordle because of its similarities to Wordle?
“No. [It’s] definitely not copying Wordle. We like Quordle a lot because it’s a completely different game. Having to make four words introduces such different types of gameplay and tactics. “
And yes, Barlow is a Quordle player, and it was that long before Merriam-Webster bought the game.