Wordle, the global five-lettered word puzzle phenomena was purchased by New York Times earlier this year. While the move was heavily criticized by players, Wordle’s NYT counterpart had not shifted behind a paywall, like some had expected. However, that doesn’t mean all is well with the game’s new avatar.
A report by Gizmodo reveals that the online game is now full of ad trackers. The popular puzzle game was not too long ago, lauded for being a no-nonsense, completely free-to-play game with no ad tracking, no signup and no catches. Now, players who make a daily visit to the website to solve the puzzle will be dealing with a lot more tracking.
Ad tracking is a big part of how digital publications make money. Twitter user Ben Adida (@benadida) pointed out the new ad trackers by diving into the game’s code and shared it in an image. You can see it below.
So no the NYT did not make Wordle harder or even change it all that much…. but can you imagine how hard it will be now if they had *any* plans to tweak it? Whew.
Separately, NYT didn’t change the game, but they sure changed the deployment. Lots more tracking. pic.twitter.com/HbrkF5o0eh
— Ben Adida (@benadida) February 16, 2022
“NYT didn’t change the game, but they sure changed the deployment. Lots more tracking,” Adida adds in his tweet. While some of the new trackers are from NYT, others were used to reportedly send data to third parties including Google.
What does this change for players?
For the players, the change may be either deal-breaking, or completely irrelevant. On the surface, adding ad trackers doesn’t change the gameplay aspect of Wordle. Players will still go the page everyday and solve the daily puzzle as usual, as all the tracking is not something that goes on in the foreground.
However, those concerned with third-party tracking and surveillance will be disappointed by this. Ad trackers track your usage while navigating through the web, to show you suitable ads. This is why if you Google a new pair of Nike shoes, you soon start seeing them everywhere in your browser and other apps.
So far, this is the third major change to Wordle, apart from the font and the solution changes. The game is still subscription-free, but as per NYT’s original announcement from January, which mentioned that Wordle would be ‘initially’ free to play, that may change in the future.