I’ve mentioned it before, but for those of you who weren’t aware, I’m addicted to Scrabulous, the Facebook application which allows me to play multiple games of Scrabble with several of you at the same time, and at our leisure.
Scrabulous is so fabulous, I ditched Friendster and MySpaz out of my desire for it; I had no need for such retrograde networks, not when Facebook was so superior– and the whole basis for its superiority is this stellar timesuck. If you read the message boards on the “official” Save Scrabulous group or under news articles about the game, I’m not the only one who has embraced Facebook out of my nerdier impulses, nor am I the only one who is twitching in a corner, rocking back-and-forth over this:
The saga of Scrabulous is nearing an end…[link]
I can’t bear to contemplate it. Better I edify you as to why this tragedy is occurring. Hasbro is not pleased that their game is suddenly so popular, not when they have no part in the fun. Never mind that they were stupid for not sensing the untapped desire of millions of word-nerds for protracted online Scrabbling, they’re using words like “licensing” and “stealing” to rain on our vocabulary-littered parade.
A flurry of behind the scenes deal-making has been going on between Hasbro, Scrabulous, and Electronic Arts, which has the license in the U.S. to the online version of the game. Hasbro is trying to get Scrabulous to sell itself for a song to Electronic Arts, or else shut down completely by the end of the day today. [link]
The Calcutta-based brothers behind the awesomeness, software developers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla are trying to find a way…
Scrabulous has been trying to shop itself to other buyers as well, but its legal liability is scaring away any potential white knights. Unless it gets some sort of reprieve or agrees to sell to Electronic Arts, Scrabulous will be no more, despite the more than 46,000 Facebook members who have joined the â€œSave Scrabulousâ€ group. What choice does it have, really, but to sell? [link]
Lest you think this is a tiny sort of tempest, consider these numbers:
Scrabulous was started in 2006 as a standalone site operated by a pair of 20-something Calcutta, India-based brothers, Jayant and Rajat Agarwalla, but the game exploded when they created a Facebook application that currently boasts 2.3 million active users and soon became the workplace productivity drain du jour. It’s currently the ninth most popular application on the site. [link]
Why can’t Hasbro focus on the good, which is what would benefit me…and you…and every other Scrabbling cubicle monkey?
With no official version of Scrabble available to play online, the move to shut down Scrabulous â€“ which has renewed interest in the board game for a generation more familiar with electronic entertainment â€“ could be seen as counter-productive…
Office worker Nastasia, 32, who plays Scrabulous at home and at work, said she bought a travel edition of the board game to take on holidays.
“We went overseas with some friends so I bought a travel version of Scrabble as I’d forgotten how fun the game was until Facebook revived it,” she said. [link]
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go finish the nine games I’m currently playing. I plan to go out in a blaze of glory, firing until there are no triple-word-scores left, TWL in my right hand, SOWPODS in my left…