Scrabulous loses out to corporate America

As reported on Techcrunch Scrabulous has been wiped off Facebook, following legal action against the owners of Scrabulous by Hasbro, who own the rights to the board game.

This issue has been rumbling on since April when Hasbro released their own version of Scrabble for Facebook and started to turn up the heat on Scrabulous.

Their first version of the game wasn’t a success and now Hasbro have released another version, this time in partnership with EA. This went live last week, and at the time of writing had 14,956 daily users. Before it went down in North America Scrabulous had half a million daily users.

It will be interesting to see how successful EA and Hasbro are with this for two reasons:

  1. It will give a steer on whether EA (and by implication other large games companies) have the capability to produce compelling social games – this is highly significant for startups in this space – Playfish, Zynga and SGN
  2. We will learn whether brand is as important in marketing social games as it has been in other forms of games – this could have big implications for game budgets, which could spiral if brand license deals become important (to give credit where it is due, this was a point made by Kristrian Segerstralle of Playfish on the post about Scrabulous back in April, the argument for brands being less significant in social games is that for the first time consumers get lots of information from their friends and social graph and therefore rely less on marketing and PR)