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Yes, giving intellectual property away for free might make people spend more on other associated crap. Or your stock might tank.

I don't know. Has this Interweb business model been tried?

Posted by elenchos | July 31, 2008 1:06 PM

Hasbro probably doesn't see this as a way to make a few more dollars selling Scrabble related merchandise. But they really, really care if Scrabble enters the public domain because they didn't defend their copyright.

I think they blew it by not buying out Scrabulous and retaining the goodwill of Facebook's users. Corporate America is trying to figure out how to capitalize on social networking and Hasbro could have had it served up to them on a platter.

Posted by Westside forever | July 31, 2008 1:14 PM

Ugh, ugh, barf, barf. Now the Scrabulous boys have proven that they can write just as horrible a game as Hasbro can.

You're right, though; Scrabulous was the best thing that ever happened to Scrabble, and had 2 milllion people interested in the moribund game again, and made Hasbro millions. Until they killed it. Notice that Mattel (owner of the Scrabble rights outside of the US and Canada) hasn't sued anybody. They're sitting pretty; someone else did all their marketing and programming for them. Pity Hasbro can't be smart like that.

Posted by Fnarf | July 31, 2008 1:14 PM
People want Scrabble. No frills, no animation, no unfamiliar colors. Just Scrabble.

Then why are so many people e-mailing you with this cheap-shit substitute?

Posted by University of Chicago | July 31, 2008 1:14 PM

The guys who created Scrabalous already relaunched it with a different name, Wordscraper,story here.

Posted by pragmatic | July 31, 2008 1:14 PM

You do realize they're giving away the Facebook Scrabble app for free, right? Unfortunately, it's unwieldy and unpleasant to play. Hasbro is still letting people play Scrabble online. It's just that now fewer people will want to do so.

Posted by annie | July 31, 2008 1:16 PM

I played Scrabble (with a board) more often while Scrabulous was running than without.

What pisses me off is the idea that Hasbro felt inclined to send a cease and desist to these people who had obviously come up with a more popular format of the intellectual property - and then do nothing! They couldn't have appropriated that format? Figured out why it was so popular? Learned a fucking thing about what their customers prefer?

Posted by Ziggity | July 31, 2008 1:18 PM

@4: They don't play, they just think I care.

@5: Uh, that's what this entire post is about. And no, that's not Scrabulous. It's a new game, and who cares about it?

Posted by annie | July 31, 2008 1:20 PM

I've wanted to buy Scrabble for the iPhone...oh, maybe four times. The whole $10 thing keeps me staring at the screen. It takes about two screen dims for me to go back to scribbling super fast tic-tac-toe in my notebook. It's not as fun. I'm sure people think I'm crazy when they see me doing it. I have pages and pages and pages_

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 31, 2008 1:24 PM

I agree that I miss the familiar colors and shapes, but you can (and this is the pretty brilliant part) customize your own board and then save it. So you can put exactly the same extra-point spots in exactly the same spot on the board as they are in Scrabble... and Hasbro can't really complain about that, because it's the individual player's decision about how to create their board.

Posted by leek | July 31, 2008 1:29 PM

And yes, I know there is zero thought in tic-tac-toe. Especially when you're the only one playing. The idea is not to think at all and try to prevent yourself from winning on either side. It's fun. IT IS!

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 31, 2008 1:31 PM

Geesh, jump down our throats for trying to help you out ... don't pull an ECB on us, annie.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 31, 2008 1:32 PM

@8 Oops, I missed that it was a link on the word "This".

Posted by pragmatic | July 31, 2008 1:36 PM

Last time I played, same rules, same colors!

Posted by LH | July 31, 2008 1:41 PM

I love the idea of Mr. Poe scribbling tic-tac-toe in a notebook really fast. I'd like to see it in a movie.

Posted by Fnarf | July 31, 2008 1:57 PM

@9/11 THAT is why I love you.

Posted by Le Juif | July 31, 2008 2:00 PM

I went out and bought a new Scrabble board, plus the official dictionary, because playing Scrabulous got me back into it. But now that Scrabulous has been shut down and I'm not thinking about the game much, they'll probably sit in a closet for 20 years like my parents' board did.

Posted by Greg | July 31, 2008 2:05 PM
18 has a great app for playing Scrabble online. It doesn't utilize your browser and runs in a separate window. After playing a few games, you develop a rating, which allows you to match your skills with players of similar abilities. I think it's a great program that uses very little resources.

Posted by Occasional | July 31, 2008 2:42 PM

Uh, haven't you ever heard of internet scrabble club?

Posted by Jesse | July 31, 2008 2:51 PM

Okay. Pay Hasbro for licensing rights to post their game online.

Posted by Gomez | July 31, 2008 3:58 PM

I am seriously bummed about the loss of Scrabulous. The Scrabble app sucks. I owe Fnarf an ass whupping on the tiles. I fucking hate Facebook for getting me hooked and now cutting off my supply.

Posted by kerri harrop | July 31, 2008 10:36 PM

Kwitcherbitchen. Register for a character on LambdaMOO and play Scrabble there, or go to Internet Scrabble Club, or attend the Seattle Scrabble Club. I started playing Scrabble online in 1993 without having to touch Scrabulous on Facebook. And yes, playing in a text interface did make my spouse and me buy official dictionaries, study official word lists, purchase game sets, join Scrabble clubs. It just wasn't Facebook.

Posted by i have no life | August 1, 2008 7:28 AM

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