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Scrabulous Is Dead, Hasbro's Version Brain-Dead

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the awesome-job-hasbro dept.

Classic Games (Games) 395

eldavojohn writes "Sometime this morning, Facebook shut down Scrabulous to American and Canadian users. Scrabulous, we hardly knew ye." This is sadly unsurprising, now that Hasbro's finally taken legal action against the developers, after quite a few months of letting it go unmolested. Seems like they waited until there was an official Scrabble client available (also on Facebook), while the snappy and fuller-featured Scrabulous kept people interested in a 60-year-old board game. The official client, which is at least labeled a beta, is a disappointment. This is not a Google-style beta release, note: it's slow to load, confusing, and doesn't even offer the SOWPODS word list as an option, only the Tournament Word List and a list based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary. (Too bad that SOWPODS is the word list used in most of the world's English-speaking countries.) It also took several minutes to open a game, rather than the few seconds (at most) that Scrabulous took — it's pretty impressive, but not in a good way, that the programmers could extract that sort of performance from the combination of Facebook's servers and my dual-core, 2GHz+ laptop. The new Scrabble client has doodads like 3D flipping-tile animations, too, but no clear way to actually initiate the sample game that jamie and I have attempted to start. I hope that once we get past that obvious hurdle, we'll find there's a chat interface and game notebook as in Scrabulous, but my hopes are low.

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395 comments

Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386355)

The developers asked too much money? Hasbro was too stingy? Hope they realize their mistake now and offer a decent price to the brothers who developed scrablous.

If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (5, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386399)

If the people behind Scrabulous have any pride, they'll tell Hasbro to go fuck themselves. They did a better Scrabble than Scrabble, and rather than compete, Hasbro turned to the law.

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (5, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386567)

Hasbro would have done a lot better to do something like this:

"We'll give you an endorsement and let you use the Scrabble logo and *not take legal action* if you will maintain certain standards and give us a cut of your advertising profits as a licensing fee."

And then negotiate as fair a deal as both parties can agree upon.

This is where modern copyright litigation really fails these companies: they're so quick to shut down anyone who might potentially be stepping into their IP, they're passing up really amazing opportunities at making use of their innovation. If these guys can do Scrabble so well, why not encourage them to do other Hasbro games in a way that makes Hasbro money?

You're doing it wrong. (5, Funny)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386887)

If these guys can do Scrabble so well, why not encourage them to do other Hasbro games in a way that makes Hasbro money?

Stop making sense.

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387075)

Most of Hasbro's board is so old they probably have to have oxygen tents built into the boardroom. It's unlikely that the leadership there even knows how to turn on a computer, much less understands the significance of an argument about how web 2.0 apps are changing the business landscape. We're talking a company that still specializes in *board games*. You'd be about as lucky lecturing a buggy whip company on the potential of the horseless carriage.

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (2, Interesting)

ianmh (818287) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387137)

Bang on, I am still blown away that they have shut down such a popular site. Did they even try to buy it and if Scrabulous had never existed would Hasbro of even thought to create a Facebook app? Probably not.

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24387139)

This is where modern copyright litigation really fails these companies: they're so quick to shut down anyone who might potentially be stepping into their IP, they're passing up really amazing opportunities at making use of their innovation.

This has nothing to do with litigation or the law. That's a business decision of shooting themselves in the foot.

However, in a free country, a business is entitled to shoot themselves in the foot. They can even choose which foot.

What was the basis of the lawsuit? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387263)

The bit I haven't yet deciphered (I have RTFA, but it didn't really help) is what exactly the lawsuit claims. It says that it's filed under the DMCA, but not what exactly Hasbro are claiming copyright on. Is a game concept copyrightable? If not, can Scrabulous just remove whatever little bit it is that they are claiming on?

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (4, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387403)

Pride goeth before the fall. And that's what this is: hasboro saying "Mine! My game! Not yours! I do with it what I want! You dint ask purmissin!"

Re:If the Scrabulous people have any pride... (5, Insightful)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387241)

Isn't Scrabble still under copyright? If it isn't in the public domain, and Scrabulous is a clone of Scrabble (which it is AFAICT), they have every right in the world to sue. They even took advantage of Scrabble's popularity by giving it a name that was similar. This appears to be no different than selling Leevi Jeens with the classic rivets.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386413)

Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386489)

uhhh, yeah that isn't exactly a new business strategy.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386555)

"Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than making asses of ourselves"

Fixed that for you.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Insightful)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386615)

Why not? Isn't that how most small-time inventors get noticed by big companies...either developing a new product or improving an existing one?

A couple of college student can't approach Hasbro and say "We've got a great idea for an online version of Scrabble...will you let us make it?" Hasbro will laugh them out the doors. But when they execute it well and have a massive fan base, why would Hasbro NOT want to cash in on what is already there and developed?

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Interesting)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386695)

Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

And if it ultimately makes Hasbro a shitload of money from the deal what's wrong with that? Another way of putting it would be "Make something profitable and enjoyable from our IP and we'll deal with you so that everybody wins". Hasbro's chosen course of action is either a poor business decision or plain spite.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386749)

"Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will let you pay us to use it rather than prosecuting you"

Sounds so much better when you spin it the other way.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

lortho (700090) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386987)

Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

And what's wrong with that, exactly?

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

MrZaius (321037) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387017)

'Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"'

Not "abuse our trademark and we'll sue you for all you've got (ie, the product we want). We'll settle with you and allow you to retain 30% of your ad revenues in exchange for continued support"? There are ways to spin even the above.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

imrehg (1187617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387067)

And wouldn't it work?

If the copy is lesser then sue and stop them. If the copy is better then make a deal, and you are back in business with far smaller investment, because someone already did the hard work...

Just, you know, the people who run big companies do not necessary have common sense. And while the people using the technology might have a better feeling, where business is going on the Interweb, the CEOs in those corporate offices are just that - people in the office and not where the action happens.

I'd like to say, let them ruin a great business opportunity for themselves, but in the same time it makes me sad, that this is normal to many companies - don't care about the customers, just follow ancient, broken business tactics.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Insightful)

fumblebruschi (831320) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387215)

Not that I back Hasbro, but purchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

Also known as "Do our R & D for us for free, and we'll give you money if you come up with something really good." That's I message I wouldn't just send, I'd broadcast it at top volume.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

z0idberg (888892) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387259)

Don't you mean, build on our idea and do it really well, getting us into markets that we couldn't even dream of and let's all share the profits!

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387391)

[P]urchasing the alleged "illegal copy" of their game would have sent the message "Copy our game and do a better job than us, and we will pay you for it rather than prosecuting you"

Well, consider that the US Constitution says that patent and copyright laws are to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts", and doing a better job than Hasbro would certainly satisfy the "promote the Progress" part, I'd think that's what the Constitution's authors intended.

Of course, you could question the "useful" part when the issue is a game like Scrabble. But that would be petty, wouldn't it?

Still, I'd think that if someone copies a commercial product and improves on it, the laws should support the people who did the improving. Maybe impose some sort of "mechanical license" between the two parties, as is done with with some performances of music, giving both parties a standard portion of the profits.

We've had a problem from the very beginning of patent and copyright, that the owner can (and usually does) use the law to block further progress. If we really want that Progress that the Constitution promised us, we need laws that prevent things like what Hasbro has just done, and what many others have done before them.

Of course, in this case it's primarily a trademark issue. So it'll be interesting to see how Hasbro reacts to a re-release of Scrabulous under another name that doesn't sound like a derivative of Scrabble.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387425)

Which seems like it would be a great business model.

I don't think Hasbro could get a better deal then have somebody else do all the development work up front, and then they can make a decision to buy it or not based on the completed work, rather than pay someone up front for an uncertain product.

The second way is what they decided to do, and from the review it looks like they ended up spending more money for an inferior product. Not to mention the bad publicity.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (3, Insightful)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386439)

They probably didn't want to reward the people who ripped off their game.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (5, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386677)

It's a crossword puzzle!

It's older than your grandpa.

There's nothing to "rip off".

The only thing left that's not public domain is the name.

This is why there are monopoly knockoffs. Their patent
on a PD game invented by the Quakers expired a long
time ago.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (4, Informative)

kithrup (778358) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386925)

The only thing left that's not public domain is the name.

And the layout -- in particular, I suspect that the bonus spaces are the most copyrightable aspect. (There was something, a couple of months ago, that discussed the copyrightability, to make up a word, of game rules. But a quick search couldn't find it.)

While I don't use Facebook, I did see the version of Scrabble up for the iPhone... and at ten dollars, I considered it too much money.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387383)

They probably didn't want to reward the people who ripped off their game.

So instead they chose to punish people who played their game. That's brilliant!

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (5, Informative)

hansonc (127888) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387119)

From what I understand Hasbro did offer to buy scrabulous and the developers wanted "fuck you money" for it rather than taking what they were offered and thanking Hasbro for not suing them for an obvious trademark infringement.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (1)

Tragedy4u (690579) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387309)

Why would you give someone money after they stole from you or took your copyrighted idea for their own profit? This isn't so much about what revenue Hasbro has "lost" it's about setting an example and legally bitchslapping someone who tried to take your rug from under your feet. Hasbro isn't the bad party here, they're just defending what they own.

Re:Why didn't they just buy scrablous? (2, Informative)

dgm3574 (153548) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387333)

"Sorry

Scrabble is temporarily unavailable due to maintenance. Please check back later."

Lame.

As much as I am against IP law (5, Interesting)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386389)

if they had just changed the name and maybe the colors, problem solved - they would not have been shut down, and no users would have left.

The Boggle clone changed its name, and its still up. There have been perfectly legal scrabble clone games published since the 1940s. I have some in my collection of antique toys and games. All you have to do is not use the trademarked name.

Re:As much as I am against IP law (0)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386713)

You mean all you have to do is not be popular and make a profit?

Chances are the other clones weren't worth the hassle in trying to shut down (or weren't created in the US, and thus couldn't easily be shut down)

Re:As much as I am against IP law (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387049)

if they had just changed the name and maybe the colors, problem solved - they would not have been shut down, and no users would have left.

I wonder if they still can't do that. Register a second company and have Scrabuous transfer all assets to it (including the registered users). Then re-release the game with a new name/board.

This has NOTHING to do with trademark (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24387355)

Legallly, this claim has nothing to do with trademark. Please, stop spreading FUD.

This game was pulled under the DMCA. The DMCA only protects against copyright infringement, it has NO PROVISIONS AT ALL for trademark infringement.

If this game had (in Scrabble's opinion) simply violated trademark, they could NOT have leveraged the DMCA.

Now, if Scrabble has, in fact, perjured itself (DMCAing without cause *is* perjury), scrabulous must file a DMCA counter-claim. They will win, and should win big, if, in fact, Scrabble has perjured itself.

I expect Scrabble actually has committed perjury, because I highly doubt any code or instructions (the copyrighted parts of Scrabble, the board/name are TRADEMARKS, totally different) in Scrabulous are non-original.

Go Rajat and Jaynat, go!

QQ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386393)

QQ some moar

Sixty Years Old?! (3, Funny)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386395)

My god! It must have been a heroic effort to somehow drum up interest in something that ancient! If they could do that for Scrabble, imagine what they could do for chess, or go, or even poker!

same old story (3, Insightful)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386411)

Just another sad day when an entity demands and is granted the right to continue to profit exclusivly on an idea that is decades old.

Re:same old story (5, Insightful)

zehaeva (1136559) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386627)

This is a Trademark issue, not a copying issue. GE profits on a name that is ancient, so does AT&T. Scrabulous is just too close to Scrabble as far as a brand name goes.

Re:same old story (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24387001)

I recommend a guerrilla trademark war: we simply need to decide what STD now gets the street name of "scrabble".

Re:same old story (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387361)

i wish i could give you a 6th insightful point.

i get the arguments against RIAA and the MPAA, but this is clearly a case of a company trying to steal brand recognition.

let's see (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386423)

Facebook is a US site, Hasbro is a US company, I can't imagine why they would only stick with the US dictionary.

Also, I'm really not sure how I should feel about this. If only there was a paragraph of blatant editorializing that told me what to think. Surely the vaunted journalists of Slashdot wouldn't include such a thing, though.

Re:let's see (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386549)

Facebook is a US site

What is that even supposed to mean?

Re:let's see (3, Insightful)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386797)

It means he thinks that there aren't millions of non-US facebook users because he hasn't bothered to look.

/Mikael

Re:let's see (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386721)

Facebook is a US site.

Facebook is already translated into many languages and there are networks for most countries. While Facebook the corporation may be chartered in the US, it's obvious the leadership thinks of it as a global site.

Facebook is not the Internet (5, Informative)

joabj (91819) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386443)

The Web-based version [scrabulous.com] of Scrabulous seems to be working just fine.

Re:Facebook is not the Internet (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386541)

As does the facebook version if you get at your US or Canadian facebook account via non-US or Canadian proxy.

Re:Facebook is not the Internet (4, Informative)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386595)

Give it time. It appears to be hosted in Texas [slashdot.org] at ThePlanet.com... we'll see how long they take to pull the server.

Re:Facebook is not the Internet (1)

strelitsa (724743) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386765)

Don't hold your breath. A significant portion of my total spam load comes from ThePlanet.com servers. They're not exactly well-known for responding to complaints about their spamming customers, and their response time even when they get around to it is pretty much glacial.

Re:Facebook is not the Internet (1)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387003)

Could be. ThePlanet.com might react faster if the complaint was delivered by expensive lawyers or by law enforcement officials.

Re:Facebook is not the Internet (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386597)

Exactly! who the hell needs Facebook? Jeeze! People act like that's the only site on the net.I hope they're hosted offshore, out of reach.

Like open soures, copy is not all that GREAT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386479)

If you want to make something, make something that isn't a rip-off. It's like all that is linux, a copy of all that is already done.

Older than me! (5, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386511)

We really REALLY need copyright reform. I'm 56 years old. Nothing ever created in my lifetime will reach the public domain while I still breathe, and no matter how young you are nothing created in your lifetime will reach the public domain either. And as this Scabble thing shows, it stifles creativity. When Newton said "if I see farther than other men, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" (and he wasn't the first to say that), the same could be said of art.

Where would engineering be if patents were endless, like copyrights are? Endless copyrights stifle creativity. Where would Disney be without the Brothers Grimm? And how can we convince our governments that they are hindering artistic progress?

Re:Older than me! (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386589)

When Newton said "if I see farther than other men, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" (and he wasn't the first to say that)

I totally agree. Someone really should have sued Newton for copyright infringement for that quote.

Re:Older than me! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386649)

And yet this has absolutely NOTHING to do with copyright. This is all about TRADEMARK. And no, trademarks were never meant to expire, nor should they. If you want to go on a rant, you should at least have a basic grasp of what you're talking about.

Re:Older than me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386861)

And no, trademarks were never meant to expire, nor should they.

I should add '...as long as you make a reasonable effort to protect your trademark. If you don't make an effort to protect it, you lose the right to it.'

Explain what's trademarked, merci? (1, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387135)

If it was simply a matter of Trademark then Scrabulous and Niggle would have no more problem than MAD Magazine.

Re:Older than me! (3, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386715)

We really REALLY need copyright reform.

Scrabble is not under copyright, it's a trademark.

Re:Older than me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386771)

And how can we convince our governments that they are hindering artistic progress?

Write them a bigger campaign donation check than they got from the entrenched copyright interests. Duh. :-)

Re:Older than me! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386909)

When Newton said "if I see farther than other men, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" (and he wasn't the first to say that)

People really shouldn't quote Newton on that. When he said that to his rival, Robert Hooke, he was being an ass, as Newton generally always was. Hooke had a short stature and had scoliosis, which caused him to stoop.

And, like you said, Newton wasn't the first to use the phrase.

A disappointing digital offering from Hasbro? (1)

foo fighter (151863) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386577)

No way!

Ask any fans of Magic: the Gathering or Dungeons & Dragons about Hasbro's digital offerings for those two giant games. Failure after failure after failure.

You really have to blame Google and Blizzard. They get the top online devs and everyone else gets table scraps.

Re:A disappointing digital offering from Hasbro? (2, Interesting)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386905)

The parallel is even closer for M:tG fans as there used to be a quite nice piece of software floating around the 'net about 10 years ago called "Magic Suitcase".

Instead of buying it and creating a licensed version that fans would appreciate and support they just killed it outright if memory serves.

Re:A disappointing digital offering from Hasbro? (2, Interesting)

rukcus (1261492) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387127)

The problem I saw with Hasbro/EA Scrabble on Facebook was more of a problem with EA's "add more features that don't add basic functionality" like they butcher every game they touch.

Hasbro's other departments, and specifically Wizards of the Coast which owns the brands for D&D and MTG, have failed to bring a good product to market for the same reasons. Instead of focusing on the basics, they bloat with features that only make the software look and play nice, but cannot mimic the underlying mechanics. Even before Magic Suitcase, there was Apprentice. This was free, widely used, no thrills attached program maintained by fans on their own time so that players online could enjoy the game. It was not based on ad revenue, it was less than 2MB and included TCP socketing. So what did WotC do? Send a Cease & Desist notice to the developers claiming copyright infringement. Two years later they released a product with lots of thrills, over 100 times the size, and a click-intensive program.

Why does it seem like games companies don't know how give their customers what they want?

facebook app performance (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386593)

I believe a facebook app must run on its own servers, not the facebook owned ones. So its likely they didn't do a very good job handling the sudden rise in demand with their hardware. Facebook apps sometimes need to scale very quickly as they become viral. Feel free to correct me, if you have any actual experience developing for facebook, I've just read a few accounts.

Re:facebook app performance (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386777)

Facebook blocked access to Scrabulous from Facebook within the USA and Canada. It still works elsewhere, and from scrabulous.com

Re:facebook app performance (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387217)

Still, the load on facebook from the US & Canada isn't insignificant. Look at Plurk and Cuil, they both failed to scale instantaneously. It could happen to anyone.

So countersue! (4, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386599)

I doubt the creators of Scrabulous had the foresight to patent their invention of "method to play the board game Scrabble using information technology," but if they did, they would have an awesome countersuit. Would the courts rule in favor of trademark or patent?

dumb idea. (3, Interesting)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386605)

For a start the game dates back to 1938! The guy who designed it died in 1993, he actually sold it in the 1940s and it was trademarked then. And they still try and extort money from it? For fucks sake.

This can only backlash against HASBRO - they will make not a penny from the new Facebook version in any case and scrabulous was advertising the board game splendidly.

Seems like a really, really dumb move guaranteed to annoy the end users.

What do HASBRO think they will get from this? They will only get advertising revenue if they can persuade people to visit their new version, and annoying the customers is not a good method to do so.

On the other hand Scrabulous was shut down by the developers themselves in response to the lawsuit, so either they are covering their asses or this is some attempt to make HASBRO reconsider in the face of user outrage.

Typical. For me Scrabulous was one of the only reasons I used FB - I wonder if this will show up in the FB user numbers as a dip?

yahoo literati (4, Informative)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386611)

http://games.yahoo.com/lt [yahoo.com]

(you need a yahoo login)

totally free. huge regular user base in all skill levels. you get to keep track of your score/ rank over many thousands of games. there are different servers for different skill levels

its a java app. i've had problems with it freezing on ie (so you lose a match and it hurts your overall standing), but it works fine in firefox. you can play time limit games, challenge spelling games, etc.

there are some quirks and minor complaints, griping about the dictionary of course being the biggest, as usual, but by and large i'm very satisfied by the player population and the overall challenge and the easy in/ easy out/ waste 20 minutes nature of play

you frequently encounter players with thousands of games under their belt, and you can check if their win/ loss ratio is suspect or their abandoned games count is suspect (meaning: they jettisoned games in the first few seconds before it hurt their score if they don't like their initial tiles, which is really lame). as for the players with the weird win/loss ratios: i don't understand why someone would cheat at such a frivolous nonmonetary past time, but you encounter such players way more than you would think. i don't get it. is someone designing bots for a CS class? is someone so interested in winning over enjoying themselves? i don't understand it

of course, it's not 100% scrabble, but how it departs from scrabble, such as pseudorandom letter tiles (chosen at the beginning of the game and fixed but from a much larger pool of tiles) is interesting. so some games are brutal because of a bunch of Cs, Is, and Us, and the next game might be surprising because of a surfeit of Js and Zs

i'm very happy with literati for wasting 20 minutes here and there

Re:yahoo literati (2, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386805)

is someone designing bots for a CS class?

Put simply - Yes.

"If it ain't broke don't fix it..." (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386639)

If Hasbro is smart they will sue Scrabulous, take the company, cut a deal with their developers/management and paste the Scrable name to their application. To be fair, I'm sure this was Hasbro managment's plan all along, but a few individuals over at Scrabulous must have dug in their heel. Just a prediction...

How does this matter? (-1, Offtopic)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386691)

There are still plenty of us who don't really care about myspace / facebook. Not every person on the internet is on one (or both) of those. I don't see why this article justifies front-page status.

How does this not matter? (3, Insightful)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386795)

There are still plenty of us who care about myspace / facebook. Most people on the Internet are on one (or both) of those. I see why this article justifies front-page status.

Or how about I bitch about all the articles about C and Ruby and a whole load of other programming languages I don't know? Or websites that I personally don't care about? Should the front-page only have articles that we all care about? I'm guessing that would be quite a short list.

Re:How does this not matter? (-1, Flamebait)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387103)

Most people on the Internet are on one (or both) of those. I see why this article justifies front-page status.

That would be a very difficult number to back up. I'd call you on not providing a citation for that statement, but likely there simply is no way to say that "most people on the internet" use any particular function.

Or how about I bitch about all the articles about C and Ruby and a whole load of other programming languages I don't know?

Programming would be "news for nerds", which is also part of the name of the website. I haven't seen slashdot.org load as "Slashdot: social networking site reviews for nerds", which is what this article would be better classified as.

Re:How does this not matter? (1)

Von Helmet (727753) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387227)

Wikipedia says facebook has about 124 million users, so I'll retract my statement that most Internet users use it, as that's clearly a drop in the ocean. However, I'd hazard that a large proportion of Slashdot users use Facebook, so I'd still say that it's relevant.

Has there ever been a poll about which social networking sites people on Slashdot use?

Re:How does this not matter? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24387305)

Real Slashdot nerds don't social network, we just use Cowboy Neal.

Re:How does this not matter? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387339)

Really? I'd think the percentage of /.ers who use MyFace or SpaceBook would be smaller than normal.

Re:How does this matter? (4, Insightful)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386839)

There are still plenty of us who don't really care about myspace / facebook. Not every person on the internet is on one (or both) of those. I don't see why this article justifies front-page status.

I don't see a single article on the front page that affects everyone.

Your post strikes me as a lame excuse for trumpeting your awesome coolness for not using Facebook or Myspace. Consider your awesome coolness recognized, now leave us alone to talk about things that affect many thousands of people.

Re:How does this matter? (0, Troll)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387249)

Your post strikes me as a lame excuse for trumpeting your awesome coolness for not using Facebook or Myspace.

Congratulations on not reading what was written. I didn't say I don't use either of those. I said that they don't have that significant of a role to justify front-page status for a news site titled "News for Nerds: stuff that matters".

Consider your awesome coolness recognized, now leave us alone to talk about things that affect many thousands of people.

I would like to see Slashdot return to actually discussing important technical news, rather than piddly things like applications on social networking sites.

Re:How does this matter? (1)

matazar (1104563) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387051)

There are plenty of people who don't care for a lot of things.
Skip the article and read something else.

Just because it doesn't apply to you, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve front page status. Not to mention this isn't just about facebook. It's about IP laws, etc.
So if you don't like it, then don't read it and shut up.

THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24386729)

ON Top of that mod me up...................

india has thumbed its nose at western ip before (1, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386821)

in the mid-1990s the antiretrovirals that revolutionized survival rates with HIV were invented/ discovered in the west. but india came along and simply said "look, we're going to make these antiretrovirals in india and pay the discoverers in the west nothing, as we are treating poor people with them". and their decision has pretty much stood the test of time internationally (and stood the test of ethics of course)

however, the lack of moral equivalency of HIV drugs versus board games might not be so instructive as to establishing precedence i suppose

Other Hasbro games (1)

mhalstead0 (1335111) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386885)

I'd like to see a bunch of people putting some other Hasbro-like games up on Facebook - a Battleship clone or something like that. With different names, of course....but there is money to be made from entertaining fans of other Hasbro games...

well, at least I won't lose my last game ... (3, Funny)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 5 years ago | (#24386981)

My mom was kicking my butt, 306 to 278, with just a few tiles to go. I guess I should consider this a reprieve. If you can't win, hope for a tie due to complete system shutdown, right?

wow! (0, Flamebait)

ag3ntugly (636404) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387013)

i've never been so surpised by any other slashdot story in my life, who would have thought hasbro would gay out and ruin everything...
/sarcasm

It's like Niggle on the Palm (3, Interesting)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387091)

Niggle is a freeware Scrabble on the Palm that is fairly vanilla looking but is a far superior implementation of Scrabble to the official Hasbro version, but when they came out with official Scrabble on the Palm the authors of Niggle, of course, pulled it.

Scrabulous should patent its game. (3, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387155)

The feature list provided, the integrated chat, the quick loads, and word list, all describe a sort of a tile based game that is essentially different from scrabble the board game. Really, by Hasbro making an online tile thing, they are infringing on scrabulous's intellectual property. Scrabulous should patent everything about their work, and sue Hasbro for infringement on their invention.

The key words here are "American and Canadian". (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24387273)

America, the rest of the world is leaving you behind - in economy, social responsibility, environmental responsibility, technology, space flight, and now games.

The rest of the world is playing Scrabulous while the American plebs bow and scrape before their corporate overlords hoping they don't go to jail.

Good riddance America. Hopefully the foul stench of your influence will disappear from the civilized parts of the world as quickly as possible.

Don't like this? Get off your ass, out of your house, and do something about it!

Just like Tetris (2, Interesting)

Tet (2721) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387307)

Deja vu. There used to be a pretty reasonable Tetris on Facebook called Block Star. It was shut down, and replaced with an officially licensed version called Tetris Friends. But no one plays that because it's crap in comparison (and it doesn't work on Macs or under Linux). Sigh.

Hasbro:MS :: Scrabble:DR-DOS (1)

Timex (11710) | more than 5 years ago | (#24387311)

Sadly, it reminds me of the way Microsoft destroyed DR-DOS... It (Microsoft) promised a more robust DOS that would incorporate everything that people were turning to DR-DOS for, but never delivered (in MS-DOS)... Of course, by the time people realized they were duped, the damage was done.

Likewise, Hasbro is doing this in a probable attempt at protecting the "Scrabble" concept, taking down any/all similar projects, while providing a solution that is "beta" at best.

It should be interesting to see how this all pans out.

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