Retooled Scrabulous returns to Facebook as Wordscraper
Online Scrabble knock-off Scrabulous has traded in its letters, returning to the popular social network Facebook after a self-imposed exile with a new look and a new name.
The new game, called Wordscraper, has a different look and an adjustable board, making it more distinct from the board game Scrabble.
On Tuesday, Scrabulous founders Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla from Calcutta, India, agreed to block the game in the United States and Canada in deference to Facebook's concerns over the ongoing legal battle with Hasbro Inc., the company that owns the North American rights to Scrabble.
Over half a million Facebook users had added the Scrabulous application, making it one of the most popular applications on the social network. But that popularity had drawn the ire of two companies that own the rights to Scrabble, Hasbro and Mattel Inc., which owns the rights to the game outside Canada and the United States.
Last week, Hasbro announced it was suing Scrabulous's creators for copyright infringement, less than two weeks after the release of an authorized version of Scrabble for Facebook's North American users.
Mattel has yet to launch a formal lawsuit against the makers of Scrabulous, but the toy company did send a letter to Facebook in January asking it to remove a popular add-on.
Facebook users in Canada and the United States can still access Scrabulous from the game's website, and users outside the two countries can still access it from Facebook. While Hasbro owns the U.S. and Canadian rights to Scrabble, Mattel Inc. owns the rights to the game in the rest of the world.
At the time Scrabulous was pulled from Facebook, it had accumulated 509,505 daily active users, while the two official Scrabble games offered through Hasbro and Mattel had fewer than 25,000 users on Facebook between them.
Since then, however, membership in Hasbro's Scrabble games has taken off, with membership now over 60,000 Canadian and U.S. users.
The new Wordscraper application, which appeared on Facebook on Wednesday, has so far less than 4,000 users.