The Way To Beat Scrabulous Is Not With Lawsuits Or Crappy Versions Of Scrabble

from the keep-trying dept

In the ongoing saga of Scrabulous, the unauthorized online version of Scrabble that has found many fans on Facebook but has upset Mattel and Hasbro (who own the rights to Scrabble), it appears that RealNetworks and Mattel have finally put out an official version of Scrabble for Facebook — but the problem is that it’s terrible. As the NY Times reports, “Facebook Scrabble takes a long time to load, does not always quickly update to show recent moves, and the words the game will accept do not reflect standard Scrabble dictionaries, or even the English language.” While it’s nice to see that Scrabulous still hasn’t been forced offline, it seems odd that the authorized version is so terrible. It still probably would have made the most sense to just do a deal with the brothers who created Scrabulous (and there are still rumors that a deal has been discussed, but without a decent resolution), but if that doesn’t work, the way to compete is with a better product. Putting out a product that’s not very good isn’t likely to win over many fans.

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Companies: facebook, hasbro, mattel, realnetworks

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Comments on “The Way To Beat Scrabulous Is Not With Lawsuits Or Crappy Versions Of Scrabble”

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Xeigrich (user link) says:


I still think that this whole fuss is just Mattel/Hasbro’s pride being hurt. They’re jealous that these two guys have made it big using a “knock-off” of their product, so I bet they’re hesitant to turn completely around and accept these guys with open arms.

I don’t personally play Scrabulous as I don’t bother with Facebook but I still love regular Scrabble and have a cell phone Scrabble game (developed by EA Games, I believe). It’d be really cool if Scrabulous was officialized and trickled its way into cell phones, but I doubt Mattel/Hasbro would cut off any deals they may have already made with EA.

Pete Valle (user link) says:


Its funny, I go to my local Toy’s R Us and there are more than a couple Scrabble knock-offs in the aisles, as well as knock-offs of other popular games. How is Scrabulous different? Because their name sort of sounds like Scrabble? Or because they’ve been much more successful that Hasbro?

Hasbro is in a tough bind here. If they force Scrabulous to shut down, they risk alienating a chunk of potential buyers of their board game. (I bet there are many people who have gotten re-introduced to Scrabble through Scrabulous and have actually gotten a board game version of it because of it.) Yet, they can’t let Scrabulous keep going without some sort of official recognition because, in their minds, it might dilute their brand.

I think a deal with Scrabulous would preserve both things, bring Scrabulous in line as an official Hasbro product, preserving their brand and their fans.

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