by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
online games, quality, scrabble

facebook, hasbro, mattel, realnetworks

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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Danny, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 4:57pm


    And now that we've seen that it is possible to create a very well executed Scrabble game, us fans will be even more pissed if Hasbro forces our game off the market in favor of a poorly executed game.

    It is so obvious they should work out a deal with the brothers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Xeigrich, Apr 7th, 2008 @ 6:08pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    ConceptJunkie (profile), Apr 7th, 2008 @ 7:01pm

    Typical corporate thinking...

    That's so typical of corporate thinking. They'd rather lose money and good will than make a deal for something Not Invented Here. Of course if they were Microsoft or Corel, they'd probably just acquire Scrabulous and ruin it anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Pete Valle, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 8:30am


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Rational Beaver, Apr 8th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    If RealNetworks other products are any gage, the official Scrabble will always suck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Nick (profile), Apr 8th, 2008 @ 9:23am

    Maybe Mattel/RealNetworks are trying to poison the Scrabulous brand with their crappy official version. If that is the case, it is really sad. It just goes to show that you need a real passion and meritocracy to win, not simply permission by an authority handed down to someone willing to play by the authorities' rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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