Sunday, January 27, 2008

Scrabulous is fabulous!

For the uninitiated, Scrabulous is an online version of popular board game Scrabble. Scrabulous gained immense popularity through its Facebook App. There are nearly 600,000 daily active users for Scrabulous and it rakes in USD 25,000 per month in advertising revenue through banner inventory. The Facebook version of Scrabulous raised the ire of toy-makers Hasbro and Mattel, which jointly own the rights to the game. They asked Facebook to pull down Scrabulous and behind the scenes negotiations have been going on between Hasbro, Scrabulous, and Electronic Arts, which has the license in the U.S. to the online version of the game. Hasbro is trying to get Scrabulous to sell itself to Electronic Arts, or else shut down completely.

Interestingly, Scrabulous has been built independently by two brothers from Kolkata - Rahul (26) and Jayant Agarwalla (21). And while they have simply taken the board game online, they have done a fabulous job of it. I am a Scrabble fan myself - and own a Scrabble Deluxe board from Mattel as well as the Scrabble Game CD from Electronics Arts. Without a doubt, the Scrabulous Facebook experience beats both the official formats. Firstly, one gets to play with members across the social network at any time they desire to do so. That apart, the Scrabulous duo have continuously improved the UI/UXP and launched some great features based on inputs from users.

While Hasbro/Electronic Arts may force the Kolkata brothers to shut down Scrabulous, I am hopeful that they'd go on to build some fabulous new apps/games/products.

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