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09/04/2008 by

The Scrabulous Merry Goes Rond Continues

Earlier we reported that EA and Hasbro teamed up to battle Facebook application Scrabulous. Apparently we only scratched the surface of the issue at the time as the whole situation is turning into a situation which would make the script writers of the ‘Bold & The Beautiful’ blush. It’s the company version of a Jerry Springer episode.

Merry go round

The game was created by two software developing brothers, Rajat and Jayant Aganwalla, from Calcutta. However, they created the game without consent form the copyright owners. Which belongs to Hasbro. Or is it Mattel? Actually, Hasbro owns the rights in North America, Mattel in the rest of the world.

Although that’s slightly confusing, it’s by no means the end of this tale. Real Networks enters the fray, as they are looking to save the application. They have a deal with both Mattel and Hasbro for the rights of the game. But Hasbro also signed a deal with Electronics Arts regarding the game.

Then, Real Networks launched ‘Scrabble by Mattel’ , but because Real Networks signed their deal with Mattel they can only distribute the game in North America. But Facebook is used world wide and continues to grow outside the US, especially now they have added other languages to their platform.

Scrabulous is still going strong on Facebook and Zuckerberg and co refuse to take the app down.

Real Networks’ PR manager, Ryan Luckin, told the NY Times that “it is important to remember that even if we reach an arrangement with the Scrabulous owners, both Hasbro and Mattel must approve any Scrabble-related game.”

With Mattel having already released their own version of the game that’s highly unlikely to happen. And one would assume that if they were interested in doing a deal they would have done so before releasing their own version.

In the meantime, Scrabulous continues to be one of Facebook’s most popular apps, whereas ‘Scrabble by Mattel’ is struggling to make an impact.

The people at Hasbro, Mattel, EA and Scrabble would do well to remember the first rule of marketing: ‘There are no problems, only opportunites’.

They’ve missed a golden opportunity here.


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