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Scrabulous Is Dead, Hasbro's Version Brain-Dead 395

Posted by timothy
from the awesome-job-hasbro dept.
eldavojohn writes "Sometime this morning, Facebook shut down Scrabulous to American and Canadian users. Scrabulous, we hardly knew ye." This is sadly unsurprising, now that Hasbro's finally taken legal action against the developers, after quite a few months of letting it go unmolested. Seems like they waited until there was an official Scrabble client available (also on Facebook), while the snappy and fuller-featured Scrabulous kept people interested in a 60-year-old board game. The official client, which is at least labeled a beta, is a disappointment. This is not a Google-style beta release, note: it's slow to load, confusing, and doesn't even offer the SOWPODS word list as an option, only the Tournament Word List and a list based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary. (Too bad that SOWPODS is the word list used in most of the world's English-speaking countries.) It also took several minutes to open a game, rather than the few seconds (at most) that Scrabulous took — it's pretty impressive, but not in a good way, that the programmers could extract that sort of performance from the combination of Facebook's servers and my dual-core, 2GHz+ laptop. The new Scrabble client has doodads like 3D flipping-tile animations, too, but no clear way to actually initiate the sample game that jamie and I have attempted to start. I hope that once we get past that obvious hurdle, we'll find there's a chat interface and game notebook as in Scrabulous, but my hopes are low.
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Scrabulous Is Dead, Hasbro's Version Brain-Dead

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  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:40AM (#24386355) Journal
    The developers asked too much money? Hasbro was too stingy? Hope they realize their mistake now and offer a decent price to the brothers who developed scrablous.
    • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:42AM (#24386399) Homepage
      If the people behind Scrabulous have any pride, they'll tell Hasbro to go fuck themselves. They did a better Scrabble than Scrabble, and rather than compete, Hasbro turned to the law.
      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:49AM (#24386567) Journal

        Hasbro would have done a lot better to do something like this:

        "We'll give you an endorsement and let you use the Scrabble logo and *not take legal action* if you will maintain certain standards and give us a cut of your advertising profits as a licensing fee."

        And then negotiate as fair a deal as both parties can agree upon.

        This is where modern copyright litigation really fails these companies: they're so quick to shut down anyone who might potentially be stepping into their IP, they're passing up really amazing opportunities at making use of their innovation. If these guys can do Scrabble so well, why not encourage them to do other Hasbro games in a way that makes Hasbro money?

        • by Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:06PM (#24386887) Homepage

          If these guys can do Scrabble so well, why not encourage them to do other Hasbro games in a way that makes Hasbro money?

          Stop making sense.

        • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:17PM (#24387075)
          Most of Hasbro's board is so old they probably have to have oxygen tents built into the boardroom. It's unlikely that the leadership there even knows how to turn on a computer, much less understands the significance of an argument about how web 2.0 apps are changing the business landscape. We're talking a company that still specializes in *board games*. You'd be about as lucky lecturing a buggy whip company on the potential of the horseless carriage.
          • by The FNP (1177715) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:52PM (#24387737)

            No, the whip company is finding many new potential sources of revenue on the web.

            --The FNP

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by MacDork (560499)

              No, the whip company is finding many new potential sources of revenue on the web.

              And it sounds like Hasbro picked up the buggy part...

          • by Jabbrwokk (1015725) <grant.j.warkentinNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:23PM (#24388359) Homepage Journal

            Most of Hasbro's board is so old they probably have to have oxygen tents built into the boardroom.

            That made me laugh out loud.

            And it's so true. Hasbro is living in the 1980s, still trying to make money off GIJoe and My Little Pony.

            They don't have enough tiles to make the word "innovate."

          • the significance of an argument about how web 2.0 apps are changing the business landscape.

            He have caps filters and characters-per-line filters but no MBA-speak filters?

            I kid, I kid :P

            I agree with your post though. I always have wondered how Hasbro, Mattel and some of the other toy companies are staying afloat. It's always amusing when I see an ad for a Wii game or something followed by an ad for...a board game. I guess they make money on families who can't afford video game systems, or have some sort of moral problem with them (there are a lot of parents who think video games "rot their children

            • by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @02:08PM (#24389041) Homepage
              We have quite a few board games in our house. We also have video games. They are both fun in their own respects. The nice thing about board games is so little development costs. They created over 60 years ago, and are still selling it for $15 for the basic, and $45 for the deluxe version (prices from Amazon). It is risky starting out, but once you have something popular it's easy to put out the same product year after year and rake in the money.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by PhotoGuy (189467)

                They created over 60 years ago, and are still selling it for $15 for the basic,

                It's still a deal at $15. The board is better quality than most new cheesy games, and the pieces are still wooden and engraved with the letters.

                I've bought a couple of them; one for the house, one for the cottage, and find they're an incredible deal.

                I also bought the versions for Palm and Pocket PC. My only beef with the PPC version is that it doesn't show your score as you build a word (and rearranging the tiles can be awkward

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by AmberBlackCat (829689)

                ...$45 for the deluxe version (prices from Amazon). It is risky starting out, but once you have something popular it's easy to put out the same product year after year and rake in the money.

                I'm sorry are you talking about the board games or the computer games?

            • by twistedsymphony (956982) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @02:43PM (#24389601) Homepage
              board games are still quite relevant.

              Every Friday I get together with a half dozen or so friends and we play card games board games or whatever. If you're playing with more than one other person the fun level of video games drops dramatically since a majority of the players become spectators. Most video games these days don't even offer very good multiplayer modes unless you're playing online, which is useless for local play. There are obvious exceptions but rock band and wii sports don't offer very high levels of intellect, where many board games do.

              The most common game played on "Game night" is Killer Bunnies, not a "board game" exactly, but the same spirit.
              • What interests me in this development is that Hasbro barely even seems to think that board games are relevant. Scrabulous seems to have proven that the board game itself could be exciting--it was a simple no-nonsense application. It had the board, some rules checking, some player interaction and a few handy features to make online play more fluid (like a notepad since it could often be days between moves and you might forget some ideas you had).

                Hasbro seems to be rejecting the idea that anyone would want to just play the damn game. Clearly people would rather see 3d tiles float around than be able to place them quickly and easily in order to enjoy the game itself.

          • And what, pray tell, is wrong with board games? I like board games, I've spent a lot of money on board games. Before Japanese-styled cartoons caught on, it was considered that "cartoons are for kids"; and German-style board games are fighting the same "for kids" hurdles in the same way anime did for cartoons (by being AWESOME.) Seriously, at least try Settlers of Catan before you knock on board games (it's like the Ninja Scroll of board games; for some reason, it's often the first thing people try, and it gets them interested in trying more things.)

            ANYWAY, enough of that rant.

            Yes, Hasbro has made a lot of mistakes when it comes to computer entertainment (buying and selling Microprose and Atari; selling away and then buying back digital rights to most of their properties (including Scrabble and Dungons&Dragons)). Add this craptacular version of Scrabble to the pile (and a hefty amount of blame goes to EA too!)

            Point being, Hasbro hardly fits the mold of "buggy whip company". They keep trying new things, and yes, lots of them fail. But hey, they could have shut down Scrabulous before they had their replacement ready, so they could have shot themselves in the foot worse.

            I am opposed to the actions Hasbro has taken in this. Regretably, they are acting entirely within the law.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:21PM (#24387139)

          This is where modern copyright litigation really fails these companies: they're so quick to shut down anyone who might potentially be stepping into their IP, they're passing up really amazing opportunities at making use of their innovation.

          This has nothing to do with litigation or the law. That's a business decision of shooting themselves in the foot.

          However, in a free country, a business is entitled to shoot themselves in the foot. They can even choose which foot.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            However, in a free country, a business is entitled to shoot themselves in the foot. They can even choose which foot.

            And, in a free country, a business is allowed to decide whether it wants to use a dainty .22 pistol, a .45 semi-auto, or a M-79 40mm grenade launcher. of course, the US isn't exactly a free country any longer, but that's another topic.

          • They are finding it difficult to toe the line.

        • by philspear (1142299) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:33PM (#24387403)

          Pride goeth before the fall. And that's what this is: hasboro saying "Mine! My game! Not yours! I do with it what I want! You dint ask purmissin!"

        • by LargeWu (766266) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:44PM (#24387601)
          I do not have a reference for this other than hearsay, but from what I understand, Hasbro did indeed try to enter into some sort of licensing agreement with these guys, and they declined. Apparently the Scrabulous guys wanted millions, when in fact they should have been paying Hasbro. I know companies are *required* to defend their trademarks against infringement, otherwise they become generic terms and they lose them. Not sure if that works for copyrights as well. So basically, although I'm not happy about it, Hasbro had no other options left but to shut Scrabulous down. They certainly could have handled the situation better though - better transparency, having their own client be ready for prime time, etc.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          They can still reach such an agreement. However, if the Scrabulous developers did not wish to enter into such an arrangement, no one can compell them to do so.

          If they *are* guilty of infringement of IP or tradmark, then either shutting them down or seizing their infringing properties and handing it over to Hasbro is necessary as an option or else the infringers could simply say "No, thank you, we'd rather compete with you than work for you," and Hasbro would have no recourse.

          Certainly win-win business agre

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Pretty sure the board is copyrighted (though, hell, the game is so old oughtn't that to have expired by now?)

        • Game rules are not copyrightable. The idea for a game is not protected by copyright. The same is true of the name or title given to the game and of the method or methods for playing it....Copyright protection does not extend to any idea, system, method, device, or trademark material involved in the development, merchandising, or playing of a game. See http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl108.html [copyright.gov]

      • by AP31R0N (723649) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:26PM (#24387241)

        Isn't Scrabble still under copyright? If it isn't in the public domain, and Scrabulous is a clone of Scrabble (which it is AFAICT), they have every right in the world to sue. They even took advantage of Scrabble's popularity by giving it a name that was similar. This appears to be no different than selling Leevi Jeens with the classic rivets.

    • by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:43AM (#24386413) Homepage Journal
      Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"
      • by Reverend528 (585549) * on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:48AM (#24386555) Homepage

        "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than making asses of ourselves"

        Fixed that for you.

      • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:51AM (#24386615) Journal

        Why not? Isn't that how most small-time inventors get noticed by big companies...either developing a new product or improving an existing one?

        A couple of college student can't approach Hasbro and say "We've got a great idea for an online version of Scrabble...will you let us make it?" Hasbro will laugh them out the doors. But when they execute it well and have a massive fan base, why would Hasbro NOT want to cash in on what is already there and developed?

      • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:55AM (#24386695) Homepage

        Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

        And if it ultimately makes Hasbro a shitload of money from the deal what's wrong with that? Another way of putting it would be "Make something profitable and enjoyable from our IP and we'll deal with you so that everybody wins". Hasbro's chosen course of action is either a poor business decision or plain spite.

      • by fumblebruschi (831320) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:25PM (#24387215)

        Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

        Also known as "Do our R & D for us for free, and we'll give you money if you come up with something really good." That's I message I wouldn't just send, I'd broadcast it at top volume.

      • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:33PM (#24387391) Homepage Journal

        [P]urchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

        Well, consider that the US Constitution says that patent and copyright laws are to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts", and doing a better job than Hasbro would certainly satisfy the "promote the Progress" part, I'd think that's what the Constitution's authors intended.

        Of course, you could question the "useful" part when the issue is a game like Scrabble. But that would be petty, wouldn't it?

        Still, I'd think that if someone copies a commercial product and improves on it, the laws should support the people who did the improving. Maybe impose some sort of "mechanical license" between the two parties, as is done with with some performances of music, giving both parties a standard portion of the profits.

        We've had a problem from the very beginning of patent and copyright, that the owner can (and usually does) use the law to block further progress. If we really want that Progress that the Constitution promised us, we need laws that prevent things like what Hasbro has just done, and what many others have done before them.

        Of course, in this case it's primarily a trademark issue. So it'll be interesting to see how Hasbro reacts to a re-release of Scrabulous under another name that doesn't sound like a derivative of Scrabble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      They probably didn't want to reward the people who ripped off their game.

      • by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:54AM (#24386677) Homepage

        It's a crossword puzzle!

        It's older than your grandpa.

        There's nothing to "rip off".

        The only thing left that's not public domain is the name.

        This is why there are monopoly knockoffs. Their patent
        on a PD game invented by the Quakers expired a long
        time ago.

        • by kithrup (778358) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:09PM (#24386925)

          The only thing left that's not public domain is the name.

          And the layout -- in particular, I suspect that the bonus spaces are the most copyrightable aspect. (There was something, a couple of months ago, that discussed the copyrightability, to make up a word, of game rules. But a quick search couldn't find it.)

          While I don't use Facebook, I did see the version of Scrabble up for the iPhone... and at ten dollars, I considered it too much money.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Minwee (522556)

        They probably didn't want to reward the people who ripped off their game.

        So instead they chose to punish people who played their game. That's brilliant!

    • by hansonc (127888) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:19PM (#24387119) Homepage

      From what I understand Hasbro did offer to buy scrabulous and the developers wanted "fuck you money" for it rather than taking what they were offered and thanking Hasbro for not suing them for an obvious trademark infringement.

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:42AM (#24386389) Homepage Journal
    if they had just changed the name and maybe the colors, problem solved - they would not have been shut down, and no users would have left.

    The Boggle clone changed its name, and its still up. There have been perfectly legal scrabble clone games published since the 1940s. I have some in my collection of antique toys and games. All you have to do is not use the trademarked name.

    • by steelfood (895457) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:15PM (#24388227)

      Yes, this is a trademark issue. As it is, Hasbro does have to protect their "Scrabble" trademark if they want to keep it. There are better and worse ways of doing so through, and I'm pretty sure this isn't one of the better ways.

      The timing of the matter is a little suspicious if trademark was the focus of the suit. IANAL, but since Hasbro didn't have any competing product in Facebook until the lawsuit, I think the Scrabulous guys can get away with not paying much damages if they quickly changed their name to something entirely unrelated and re-released it. After all, it's not like they outright called their product "Scrabble."

  • by Bieeanda (961632) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:42AM (#24386395)
    My god! It must have been a heroic effort to somehow drum up interest in something that ancient! If they could do that for Scrabble, imagine what they could do for chess, or go, or even poker!
  • same old story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Neil Watson (60859) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:43AM (#24386411) Homepage

    Just another sad day when an entity demands and is granted the right to continue to profit exclusivly on an idea that is decades old.

  • by joabj (91819) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:44AM (#24386443) Homepage

    The Web-based version [scrabulous.com] of Scrabulous seems to be working just fine.

    • by Dekortage (697532) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:50AM (#24386595) Homepage

      Give it time. It appears to be hosted in Texas [slashdot.org] at ThePlanet.com... we'll see how long they take to pull the server.

    • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:41PM (#24388615) Homepage Journal

      My daughter is in college and is an avid Facebook user.

      She also has been playing Scrabble, or is it Scrabulous, for months now. She typically has 2 or 3 games going at once with different friends. If she has an idle minute or two, she'll get online and check how her games are going, whether it's her turn yet, etc.

      Most of her Scrabble/Scrabulous activity is of the instant sort, the got-a-free-minute type. If the game doesn't come up in seconds, if it takes minutes to start, what's the point. She didn't have that much time right then, anyway.

      Sometimes speed really is of the essence, even in a non-FPS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dpilot (134227)

        I talked with my daughter after she got home from work, today. She lost 2 in-progress games, one with her boyfriend and one with a friend from high school. She's more upset about losing her game statistics, though. Her boyfriend was over for dinner tonight, and he's tried the official Scrabble. It didn't get very far before it crashed. She's downstairs playing dead-tree Scrabble with my wife, now.

        Don't know what will fill the niche Scrabulous used to occupy.

  • Older than me! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:46AM (#24386511) Journal

    We really REALLY need copyright reform. I'm 56 years old. Nothing ever created in my lifetime will reach the public domain while I still breathe, and no matter how young you are nothing created in your lifetime will reach the public domain either. And as this Scabble thing shows, it stifles creativity. When Newton said "if I see farther than other men, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" (and he wasn't the first to say that), the same could be said of art.

    Where would engineering be if patents were endless, like copyrights are? Endless copyrights stifle creativity. Where would Disney be without the Brothers Grimm? And how can we convince our governments that they are hindering artistic progress?

  • So countersue! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thelasko (1196535) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:50AM (#24386599) Journal
    I doubt the creators of Scrabulous had the foresight to patent their invention of "method to play the board game Scrabble using information technology," but if they did, they would have an awesome countersuit. Would the courts rule in favor of trademark or patent?
  • dumb idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:51AM (#24386605)
    For a start the game dates back to 1938! The guy who designed it died in 1993, he actually sold it in the 1940s and it was trademarked then. And they still try and extort money from it? For fucks sake.

    This can only backlash against HASBRO - they will make not a penny from the new Facebook version in any case and scrabulous was advertising the board game splendidly.

    Seems like a really, really dumb move guaranteed to annoy the end users.

    What do HASBRO think they will get from this? They will only get advertising revenue if they can persuade people to visit their new version, and annoying the customers is not a good method to do so.

    On the other hand Scrabulous was shut down by the developers themselves in response to the lawsuit, so either they are covering their asses or this is some attempt to make HASBRO reconsider in the face of user outrage.

    Typical. For me Scrabulous was one of the only reasons I used FB - I wonder if this will show up in the FB user numbers as a dip?
    • Re:dumb idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Angostura (703910) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:58PM (#24387829)

      And they still try and extort money from it? For fucks sake.

      Yes, well that's because the Trademark still has value. Why should the Scrabulous guys leech off the marketing millions that Hasbro pumped in over the years. If Scrabulous was good enough on its own terms to succeed without trademark leeching, they should have just called it something else: they would have succeeded irrespective.

  • yahoo literati (Score:5, Informative)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquare@NOSpAm.gmail.com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @11:51AM (#24386611) Homepage Journal

    http://games.yahoo.com/lt [yahoo.com]

    (you need a yahoo login)

    totally free. huge regular user base in all skill levels. you get to keep track of your score/ rank over many thousands of games. there are different servers for different skill levels

    its a java app. i've had problems with it freezing on ie (so you lose a match and it hurts your overall standing), but it works fine in firefox. you can play time limit games, challenge spelling games, etc.

    there are some quirks and minor complaints, griping about the dictionary of course being the biggest, as usual, but by and large i'm very satisfied by the player population and the overall challenge and the easy in/ easy out/ waste 20 minutes nature of play

    you frequently encounter players with thousands of games under their belt, and you can check if their win/ loss ratio is suspect or their abandoned games count is suspect (meaning: they jettisoned games in the first few seconds before it hurt their score if they don't like their initial tiles, which is really lame). as for the players with the weird win/loss ratios: i don't understand why someone would cheat at such a frivolous nonmonetary past time, but you encounter such players way more than you would think. i don't get it. is someone designing bots for a CS class? is someone so interested in winning over enjoying themselves? i don't understand it

    of course, it's not 100% scrabble, but how it departs from scrabble, such as pseudorandom letter tiles (chosen at the beginning of the game and fixed but from a much larger pool of tiles) is interesting. so some games are brutal because of a bunch of Cs, Is, and Us, and the next game might be surprising because of a surfeit of Js and Zs

    i'm very happy with literati for wasting 20 minutes here and there

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pla (258480)
      is someone designing bots for a CS class?

      Put simply - Yes.
  • My mom was kicking my butt, 306 to 278, with just a few tiles to go. I guess I should consider this a reprieve. If you can't win, hope for a tie due to complete system shutdown, right?
  • by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:18PM (#24387091) Homepage Journal

    Niggle is a freeware Scrabble on the Palm that is fairly vanilla looking but is a far superior implementation of Scrabble to the official Hasbro version, but when they came out with official Scrabble on the Palm the authors of Niggle, of course, pulled it.

  • by tjstork (137384) <todd,bandrowsky&gmail,com> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:21PM (#24387155) Homepage Journal

    The feature list provided, the integrated chat, the quick loads, and word list, all describe a sort of a tile based game that is essentially different from scrabble the board game. Really, by Hasbro making an online tile thing, they are infringing on scrabulous's intellectual property. Scrabulous should patent everything about their work, and sue Hasbro for infringement on their invention.

  • Just like Tetris (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tet (2721) * <slashdot@NoSPAm.astradyne.co.uk> on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @12:29PM (#24387307) Homepage Journal
    Deja vu. There used to be a pretty reasonable Tetris on Facebook called Block Star. It was shut down, and replaced with an officially licensed version called Tetris Friends. But no one plays that because it's crap in comparison (and it doesn't work on Macs or under Linux). Sigh.
  • Re-Read TFA! (Score:4, Informative)

    by Keeper Of Keys (928206) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @01:32PM (#24388489) Homepage

    It's been updated [nytimes.com]. Apparently the decision to block US and Canada from Scrabulous was the Scrabulous developers' own decision, presumably a pre-emptive move to prevent themselves being sued under US law (or Canadian law, for some reason). Curious that it has occurred at the same time as Hasbro launch their own version - maybe a deal was struck after all..?

  • by PhotoGuy (189467) on Tuesday July 29, 2008 @03:48PM (#24390625) Homepage

    It looks better. Some people have complained about the animations; they don't take that much time, and Hasbro has announced they're going to implement a switch to turn them off, as well as keyboard (based upon user feedback). Hasbro owns the rights to the game, implemented their own version, and are enforcing the rights.

    I don't know why everyone has so much hate on for the new version. It looks better, they're fixing up the couple of things people have complained about.

    Most importantly, with Scrabulous you had to refresh your page manually, or set up a 2-minute auto refresh. Not great for games with any interactivity. The official Scrabble doesn't need this refresh, it tells you when someone has moved, instantly, which really is a make-or-break feature in my book.

    Yes, some games are one-turn-per-day, and each works fine for that. But when you want a play-the-game-now interactively with someone, Scrabulous was a joke.

    I don't see it as a big loss, in my opinion. The new one works fine, and should be even better when it's out of beta.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by raju1kabir (251972)

      Hasbro owns the rights to the game

      False. They own the rights to the name, to the specific wording of the rules, and to those aspects of the board's appearance which are not necessary for its function - that is, they own the rights to the particular color that they use for double-word score, but they don't own the right to a 15x15 grid.

      And they only own those rights in North America.

      In no way do they own the rights to the "game". The concept of the game itself is in the public domain.

  • I don't understand why the Scrabulous folks took an approach that virtually guaranteed that they would be shut down. The rules of the game are not subject to copyright or any other restriction, so anybody can make a Scrabble-like game. The name itself is trade-marked, and the board artwork is copyrighted. That means that all you have to do to be free of IP restrictions is use a clearly distinct name and different artwork. It would not have been difficult to avoid legal problems. Why they didn't is beyond me.

  • by Tomahawk (1343) on Wednesday July 30, 2008 @05:22AM (#24398569) Homepage

    You don't need facebook. You can play at http://www.scrabulous.com/ [scrabulous.com] - there's even an email version, which will email you when your opponent has played his/her move.

    Scrabulous was the reason I originally joined Facebook. When I found that I could play without having a Facebook account, I had my account deleted (mailed them and told them to delete everything!) and I play exclusively using the email version of the game.

    T.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

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