Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Mattel tries to beat Scrabulous at its own game

Remember the Scrabulous Scuffle? Well, Mattel decided to take the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" route...for a while. But now, according to a Monday New York Times story, Mattel is rethinking its strategy:

RealNetworks is quietly introducing a version of Scrabble...despite pledging to save Scrabulous, the wildly popular, unauthorized online version of the board game.

In recent weeks, Gamehouse, a division of RealNetworks, introduced “Scrabble by Mattel” on the social networking site Facebook.
So far, though, Scrabulous continues to beat Mattel at its own game:
As of Sunday, the official Scrabble game had attracted fewer than 2,000 daily Facebook users, in contrast to more than 600,000 on Scrabulous.
Mattel seems to be making the wrong move once again. I still think the company is justified in claiming that Scrabulous is infringing on its copyright, but they're not putting themselves in a position to elicit a lot of sympathy. By continuing to set their opponent up for the branding equivalent of a triple-word score, Mattel is playing a game it can't win.

Bonus coverage: Click here to see what Facebook users are saying about Scrabble by Mattel. It may just be a coincidence, but it only takes seven tiles to spell "You suck."

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