The battle between Facebook’s popular but illegal version of Scrabble called ‘Scrabulous’, and Hasbro, the official makers of the real Scrabble, has come to a bloody conclusion. It’s kind of similar to what happens when your little brother gets pissed at the end of the game and flips the board over out of rage.
As we first explained earlier this month, Scrabulous was the popular kid on the Facebook block. It was by a wide margin one of the most popular Facebook applications created by outside developers. In some ways it shone as a beacon of light informing people that independent developers can create content as well-liked and just as user-friendly as other programs. That was all before the copyright-toting Hasbro official ‘bored’ game maker stepped in to destroy the hopes and dreams of almost 509,000 daily users.
When many of those users logged in to play a friendly game of the ‘fabulous’ version of Scrabble Tuesday morning, they were greeted with this message:
“Scrabulous is disabled for US and Canadian users until further notice. If you would like to stay informed about developments in this matter, please click here.”
A Facebook representative announced today that the creators of Scrabulous independently removed the application today in response to a legal trademark infringement request from Hasbro.
The two brothers from India who created the game were previously rumored to have been offered $10 million by Hasbro to remove ‘ulous from Facebook to make way for the officially sanctioned Scrabble version. For some reason they turned down that massive offer. Some say it’s because they were holding out for more money, while others believe they, like Robin Hood before them, were more concerned with giving back to the world than pocketing a cash prize. But as of today, it looks like the surrender is complete.
Obviously, some of Scrabulous’ most die-hard fans are pissed about this decision. Facebook statuses, Twitter updates, and away messages are brimming with sadness after this mournful loss. The HuffPo has a nice little sampling of some of the fallout. Names have been shortened to protect the innocent:
*DK misses Scrabulous and resents THE MAN.
*RM wonders if she can keep playing Scrabulous if she changes her location to, say, Singapore… anyone try that yet?
*AS is trying to find out why Facebook shut down Scrabulous.
*LH OMG! It’s time for a SCRABULOUS riot!
Indeed, “The Man” has won this battle, but it is yet to be seen if the loss of Scrabulous will cause former users to migrate to the officially sanctioned Hasbro Scrabble version of the game. Many feel the new product is too clunky and not as fun to play. Time will only tell, I suppose.
UPDATE: Turns out the makers of Scrabulous are back with a new game – WordScraper. Although it does not resemble the Scrabble board at all, some similarities such as double and triple word scores remain. Anyone played this yet?
TechShout: Scrabble Makers Target Facebook Game Scrabulous Over Copyright Violation, January 17, 2008
HuffPo: So Long Scrabulous! Hasbro/Scrabble Wins, July 29, 2008
Times Online: Scrabulous Returns To Facebook As Wordscraper, July 31, 2008