10 Things in Tech You Need to Know Today, Tuesday, Feb. 1

Happy February, everyone. The New York Times just scooped up smash-hit Wordle, and we’re sharing all the titles coming to — and leaving — Netflix this month.

Let’s get to it.

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1. The New York Times just bought Wordle, the internet’s latest obsession. The daily word-solving game — that’s soared in popularity in recent weeks — was acquired by the media company for a price “in the low seven figures.”

  • The puzzle will “initially” remain free to players and no changes will be made, per the NYT.
  • Josh Wardle, the game’s founder and a software engineer in Brooklyn, said the NYT played “a big part” in Wordle’s origins, and that the sale “feels very natural.” You can read Wardle’s full statement here. 
  • Wordle has a relatively simple premise: guess the five-letter word. You have six chances to get it right — but you can only play once a day. You can play the game here. 
  • The puzzle became an instant hit: After launching in October, it had 90 players by Nov. 1 — now, millions of people play it each day, per the NYT.  It’s even spurred knock-offs, including several that were removed from Apple’s App Store, and one that features only lewd, NSFW words.

What we know about the sale so far.

In other news:

halo infinite

343 Industries

2. Sony announced a deal to acquire “Halo” maker Bungie. The $3.6 billion deal is the latest in a string of video game mergers, following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision and Take-Two Interactive’s purchase of Zynga. What to know about the purchase.

3. The “Great Resignation” is giving employers a taste of their own medicine. For decades, companies have demanded total loyalty from employees — while treating them as if they were disposable. (Some Amazon employees, for example, say the company doesn’t often reward loyalty with raises or promotions.) Now, it’s payback time.

4. Joe Rogan apologized to Spotify over COVID-19 misinformation. After pushing Spotify to the forefront of the biggest debate plaguing Big Tech, the podcast host also said he was sorry Neil Young and Joni Mitchell felt they had to remove their music in protest. Watch his apology video.

5. Instacart and Gopuff are expanding from groceries to takeout meals. By adding ready-to-eat food like pizza and rotisserie chicken, Instacart and Gopuff are wading into Uber and DoorDash’s territory — and analysts are predicting an uphill battle for the rapid-delivery companies. Here’s what they’re up against. 

6. Jeff Bezos’s tuition-free preschool is expanding to new locations. Bezos Academy, a Montessori-style preschool entirely funded by the Amazon founder, will open new locations in Florida and Texas. Here’s who’s eligible to attend and why Bezos says “the child will be the customer.”

7. A 24-year-old has made $300,000 selling NFTs. Lana Denina was a college student working several jobs when she first discovered NFTs in 2020. After a month of scouring tutorials on NFTs and crypto platforms, she sold her first piece and has made hundreds of thousands of dollars since. This is how she did it.

8. We outlined everything coming to — and leaving — Netflix in February. “Batman Begins,” “The Bourne Ultimatum,” and a second season of “Love is Blind” are all debuting on the streamer this month, while favorites like “Step Brothers” are being dropped. See the full list here. 

9. Dating app Grindr has disappeared from Apple’s App Store in China. Bloomberg reported that Grindr, a dating app catering to gay, bi, trans, and queer people, has vanished from China’s app store, and also can’t be found on some Chinese Android stores. More on that here. 

10. A popular RV maker just unveiled a $400,000 custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter camper van. Advanced RV, a custom Mercedes-Benz Sprinter conversion company, designed the cedar-lined van with a kitchen, bathroom, and small “garage” area. Check out “Nelson,” the tiny home on wheels.

What we’re watching today:

  • Google, PayPal, and others are expected to report earnings today. Keep up with earnings here.
  • The LEAP event for innovations and emerging developments in tech starts today in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • David Letterman returns to “Late Night” to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary.
  • Robert Jordan starts as Southwest Airlines’ new CEO.

Curated by Jordan Parker Erb in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email [email protected] or tweet @jordanparkererb.) Edited by Michael Cogley in London.

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