better late than never, i guess

op art scrabble Rhode Island toymaker Hasbro Inc. will be launching its own online Scrabble game later this month in the hopes of scooping up all those Scrabulous players (according to today’s ProJo that’s nearly 3 million registered users). It is unclear what they have to offer that will tempt these people away. According to the Chicago Tribune,

Hasbro’s initial response to Scrabulous was to ask Facebook to take down the game. Hasbro and Mattel, which own the international rights to Scrabble, also reportedly made the same request of Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, the creators of Scrabulous. News of the game’s possible demise stirred protests from avid players, with a “Save Scrabulous” group on Facebook attracting more than 45,500 members.

Inertia is not the only obstacle…

Hasbro faces several challenges in converting Scrabulous fans to the official version. Thousands of Facebook users are already comfortable with Scrabulous and are running multiple games with friends. Also, since Electronic Arts and Hasbro control the rights to Scrabble only in the U.S. and Canada, users based in those countries can’t play with people elsewhere in the world. RealNetworks created the international Facebook version of Scrabble for Mattel, and that game has about 5,600 daily active users.

As to the legal status of Hasbro v. Agarwallawallawallawallabro?*

The controversy over Scrabulous isn’t over … Hasbro is still considering its legal options and insists that the unofficial version infringes on the company’s intellectual property.

*(I made that up. Paul Grimaldi, writing in today’s Providence Journal, states that “Hasbro has not filed a lawsuit in this matter.” But I’ll bet there was a strongly worded letter.)

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