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Scrabble vs. Scrabulous, Take Two

Kim Hart

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, 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 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.

By Kim Hart  |  July 7, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  | Category:  Kim Hart
Previous: Sony Pulls PS3 Update After Users Report Problems | Next: Scrabulous Founder Speaks

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I am not a journalist myself, but would it not be prudent to actually try out both programs before writing an article about them? Hart writes, "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..." The subject is unresearched. And assumptions are also made when she claims that the game 'seems' to have loyal fans. I expect a bit more when it comes to articles from the Washington Post.

Posted by: Ry K | July 7, 2008 4:29 PM

Yes, and based upon my research of Washington Post articles (I have read this one and am therefore more qualified than the above by liner) they must all be unresearched and useless blog-babble.

Posted by: anon | July 7, 2008 5:02 PM

Tut, tut. There was _some_ content.

Posted by: J. X. Rodríguez | July 7, 2008 5:24 PM

I just had a look at scrabulus, and in my mind that is clear copyright violation, the board looks identical.

I think Hasbro should be paid damages...

Posted by: Chris | July 7, 2008 5:58 PM

So she mentions a lawsuit, but does not give any information on the status of that lawsuit. She mentions that the new program is available on a free gaming site, but does not even bother to try out the game. She mentions that she actually did something by emailing two people, but does not even wait for the response before letting everyone know about this great journalistic achievement. She even says she will keep everyone posted "if" they ever respond. Does anyone else think that she won't follow up even if they do respond? Maybe she forgot to take her ritilin... and her editor just doesn't care about quality journalism anymore.

Posted by: john | July 7, 2008 6:51 PM

Do you people even understand what a blog is?

Posted by: jerry | July 7, 2008 10:30 PM

If I may second Jerry: It's a BLOG, people. Geez.

I'm a scrabulous fan - interesting to hear that Hasbro et al. are coming out with their own official Scrabble game. I'd hoped they would team up with Scrabulous...but truthfully, Scrabulous has been so darn buggy, I'd be willing to drop it for a good Scrabble product. Especially one that can actually handle games in foreign languages (unlike Scrabulous, which gets very confused when you try to play in French).

Posted by: h3 | July 7, 2008 11:21 PM

FALWuF gfshfdjhtyr gerjiojhteiojh iojdehiojreio jhoerh

Posted by: 1800flowers | July 8, 2008 1:34 AM

Nobody has mentioned the Internet Scrabble Club, which is free to join and offers play in English and French. If you're a serious player and willing to become a supporting member ($29/year), there is a function that allows you to analyze your recent games.

I assume the ISC has made some kind of deal with Hasbro since they aren't being sued.

Posted by: Mary | July 8, 2008 11:02 AM

mHWhIm htdioghrdeioh uerhuy h3oh iohgdfiogho isdfhio sdjhdf

Posted by: flow1800 | July 21, 2008 12:06 PM

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