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Daily Authority: 💰 Wordle and Bungie sell out

Cash splashes for games with Sony-Bungie and NYT-Wordle, plus more tech news you need to know today!
By
February 1, 2022
developer publisher studios

☕ Good morning! You might’ve expected this email to open with the Sony-Bungie deal — keep on scrolling for that….

Wordle joins NYT

money wordle

The New York Times buying Wordle makes so much sense I truly wish I had predicted it.

What happened: 

  • Wordle, the simple daily word game with “millions of daily players,” was acquired by The New York Times for “an undisclosed price in the low seven figures.”
  • And, it makes sense! Wordle is great, it’s simple, easy to understand, and has millions of daily active users (DAUs).
  • The Times has an enormous player base of crossword and other daily puzzle enthusiasts who happily pay $8 a month for a daily crossword puzzle and other word games.
  • With the Wordle announcement made here, Josh Wardle tells us all he couldn’t manage the crazy growth for the game that went from an audience of one to millions. Anyway, apparently, it’ll be free, and the data from the games you’ve already played, like your streak and so on, will attempt to be ported over as well.
  • Back in October last year, The Times’ games division had 930,000 subscribers, and at $40 or so annually, was clearing about $40M annually from the crossword. It’s incredibly popular.
  • I play the Mini crossword each day and enjoy checking the leaderboards of friends and family to see how sharp/dull I was that morning.

Also:

  • I saw people ask why didn’t the Times just clone the game with a few developers on hand, as others have done in various rip-offs or more fun clones like the devilish Absurdle.
  • I just think once you’re established as the big dog, and you’re at all ethical, this is the way to do things.
  • Plus, the Times can hardly criticize Facebook et al. for copying Snapchat’s features if it does the same…

Roundup

Chart Tuesday

So, Sony has snapped up Bungie, a $3.6 billion sale that would’ve once been a major deal — and still is — but pales in comparison to the Microsoft-Activision Blizzard deal that’s some 20 times larger at $68.7 billion.

It’s not the first time Bungie has been acquired:

  • Microsoft bought the studio back in 2000 for somewhere around $20 million-$40 million dollars, to make Halo an Xbox launch game.
  • Bungie announced that it had split from Microsoft in 2007, as the game maker decided to once again become independent.
  • It’s not some knee-jerk reaction from Sony to the Activision deal, either: Sony boss Jim Ryan said the deal was in the works since as early as July 2021.
  • And apparently, Ryan said, “even bigger acquisitions are on the horizon.”
  • Bungie’s latest two games include Destiny and Destiny 2, both of which I’ve played but never quite managed to get into. Slick, interesting, and Destiny 2 was free with Google Stadia, but it was too big for me to think about picking up.

Anyway, to the chart, here’s a look at the gaming studio/developer/publisher landscape courtesy of a Reddit post by u/xaeleepswe — it’s too tiny to read but click here to open it and explore:

developer publisher studios
  • Yes, you’ll note the likes of Nintendo, Sega, Epic (40% owned by Tencent and with a substantial Sony investment as well), aren’t here.
  • Lots of discussion here.

Cheerily,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor