Scrabble vs. Scrabulous, in the era of Facebook
by Anjali Gupta
Scrabulous.com , launched by brothers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla from Calcutta is set for a battle with the makers of Scrabble, Hasbro who are trying to shut it down.
The question in my mind is – why now? The website has been around since 2006. It was later followed by a Facebook application in early 2007. What changed things at Hasbro? Was the magic number 600,000 registered Scrabulous users or 2.3 million active users on Facebook? What was going on at Hasbro as they sat watching the growth of Scrabulous over the years? Here’s one possibility.
If I were an evil genius running a board games company whose product line spanned everything from Monopoly to Clue, I might do this: Wait until someone comes up with an excellent implementation of my games and does the hard work of coding and debugging the thing and signing up the masses. Then, once it got to scale, I’d sweep in and take it over. Let the best pirate site win! If I were compassionate, I’d even cut in the guys who did all the work for a percentage point or two to keep the site running.
Either way, evil or compassionate, I would do everything in my power to make sure the Scrabble loving population of the world continues to grow. Why make it a case of board players vs. online players? If the next generation of Scrabble players is meant to be online, so be it. I would not waste my time fighting it, rather spend my time figuring out how to make it viable. Shutting down the online version will move the online audience elsewhere. After all, Scrabulous was created only because the free website Quadplex where the Agarwalla brothers played Scrabble started charging its users.
What game or version of the game will this move by Hasbro create? We’ll just have to wait, watch and later play :)