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EA doing Scrabble game for Facebook

Only for the US and Canada, though.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

EA has signed a deal with Hasbro to develop an official Scrabble game for Facebook.

There's already a knock-off Scrabble game on Facebook, of course - it's called Scrabulous and it's proved hugely popular with users of the social networking site.

The licence owners aren't so keen, though. In April Mattel launched an official Scrabble application - but only those outside the US and Canada are able to play it due to copyright issues.

EA to the rescue, reports the Associated Press. Spokesperson Trudy Miller said the publisher is working on "an authorised, licensed Scrabble game experience that people familiar with Scrabble can instantly recognise as Scrabble". Unlike Scrabulous, presumably, an unauthorised, unlicensed Scrabble game experience that people familiar with Scrabble can instantly recognise as Scrabble.

Hasbro's Mark Blecher said his company has been working to make Scrabble games consistent across different platforms, which he reckons gives the official versions an advantage over Scrabulous. Not to mention better reliability, technical support and production values.

One possible disadvantage is that EA's Scrabble game will only be playable if you live in the US or Canada. If you're in London, you won't be able to play with your mate in LA. The AP article says, "Hasbro officials played down the restrictions, however, saying players tend to reside in the same country, given the world's linguistic differences." After all, it's not as if many people outside the US and Canada speak English.

The game will be free and won't carry any adverts "for now".

Meanwhile, Hasbro is "still evaluating legal options" with regard to Scrabulous. The game was developed by Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, two brothers from Calcutta, India. According to Blecher there were talks about collaborating with the brothers at first - but then EA and Hasbro decided to do their own thing.

Good luck, EA and Hasbro. The number of Facebook users actively playing Mattel's official Scrabble game currently hovers around the 6000 mark. The figure for Scrabulous is more than half a million.

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