Scrabble vs. Scrabulous, Take Two
Back in January, board-game makers Hasbro and Mattel, who share global ownership over the Scrabble trademark, told Facebook to remove the popular Scrabulous application, claiming copyright infringement.
The request sent online Scrabulous fans into a tizzy, forming "Save Scrabulous" groups on Facebook. The episode probably drove even more users to Scrabulous, which now lists 451,107 daily active users on Facebook alone, and has given new popularity to the traditional board game.
Even in January, there was speculation that the game-makers were trying to make their own online version of Scrabble. Sure enough, Hasbro and Electronic Arts announced today that they are releasing the first Hasbro-based Facebook application, which will launch later this month. Scrabble is available now on Pogo.com, a free gaming site.
So what does this mean for Scrabulous? I haven't seen the new Scrabble applications, so I don't know how the two compare. But Scrabulous seems to have very loyal fans, and the game has become part of daily life for many Facebook users. Scrabulous also serves ads to its players, meaning the application is making money. Hasbro and EA, or course, want a piece of that action.
I emailed Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, two brothers in India who started Scrabulous.com two years ago, to ask them about the impact of Hasbro's new application. I haven't received a response yet, but will keep you posted if I hear back from them.
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