Monday, April 7, 2008

RealNetworks Doesn’t Buy Scrabulous; Launches Own Version Instead

Scrabulous’s popularity attracted the attention of Hasbro and Mattel earlier this year, and they threatened legal action to shut it down. The game companies’ actions spurred tens of thousands of Scrabulous players to sign petitions and join online clubs supporting the unauthorized game, and many have pledged to stop buying Mattel and Hasbro products if the companies shut Scrabulous down. RealNetworks is quietly introducing a version of Scrabble on Facebook, despite pledging to save Scrabulous, the wildly popular, unauthorized online version of the board game. In recent weeks, Gamehouse, a division of RealNetworks, introduced “Scrabble by Mattel” on the social networking site Facebook. The game, an online version of Scrabble, is technically available only to players outside the United States and Canada, though it relies on users to be honest about their location to make that distinction.

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