Scrabble Beta had attracted about 15,000 daily users and mixed reviews, including criticism from Facebook reviewers for its “pathetic” upload time. The companies said they were trying to address such issues.
“In deference to the fans, we waited in pursuing legal action until Electronic Arts had a legitimate alternative available,” Hasbro said in its statement. Hasbro’s public relations department did not respond to calls and e-mail seeking further comment.
Scrabulous, created by the Indian software developers Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, had attracted more than half a million players a day worldwide on Facebook. But Hasbro sued the brothers last week in New York for “clear and blatant infringement” of its intellectual property, so they decided to pull the plug.
“In deference to Facebook’s concerns and without prejudice to our legal rights, we have had to restrict our fans in U.S.A. and Canada from accessing the Scrabulous application on Facebook until further notice,” the brothers said in a statement.
While Hasbro owns the rights to Scrabble in North America, Mattelowns the rights everywhere else. For now, Scrabulous remains available to Facebook users outside North America.
Both Hasbro and Mattel introduced Facebook versions of Scrabble to compete with Scrabulous this year, but neither one attracted the users or praise of Scrabulous. The Agarwallas put the game on Facebook in 2007, and it quickly became a hit, attracting millions of users.
Scrabulous fans have been vehement in supporting the Agarwallas, and thousands have already signed petitions vowing not to buy Mattel or Hasbro products if Scrabulous is removed.
By Tuesday evening, Scrabulous fans had organized new protests and petitions. A user group, Scrabble Boycott, called on Facebook members to refuse to play the official version of Scrabble. “Wait this out,” the leader of the group urged.
Brad Stone contributed reporting.