Virtual games based on classic real-world board games have taken the social media world by storm; bored office workers and easily distracted students everywhere play Draw Something (aka Pictionary-on-the-go) and Words With Friends (Scrabble for the attention-span-challenged) obsessively on cell phones and tablets.
Toymaker Hasbro naturally decided to get in on the action by producing tangible, real-world board games based on everyone’s favorite online distractions–which were based on board games in the first place. Confused? So are we.
Anyone notice the right-before-the-holidays release date? The company has even chosen to market these shameless ripoffs as “more social” than their digital versions, since fans can play them at parties with other actual humanoids. But no one seems to be falling for it. Some related Tweets:
Just saw a commercial for the Words With Friends board game. Also known as Scrabble for you oldies out there. I don’t understand…
— Nathan Kress (@NathanKress) October 24, 2012
Words with friends is now a board game. What’s next, are they going to turn the Harry Potter movies into books?! #scrabbleorWWF?
— Alli Christensen (@5ft2_andluvinit) October 16, 2012
Did you hear they’re making a Words With Friends board-game?Did you hear that, makers of Scrabble?
— Regan Adcock (@Regan562) October 16, 2012
Here’s the kicker: the makers of Words with Friends the Board Game are the makers of Scrabble!
Hasbro not only partnered with Zynga to create Words With Friends, Draw Something, Cityville, and Farmville board games, but also holds the rights to Scrabble, Pictionary, Monopoly and Hungry Hungry Hippos (which are, respectively, nearly identical). We’re glad no one is infringing on anyone’s creative rights, but this project doesn’t offer much evidence of creativity in the first place. And while this may all seem ridiculous to consumers, the two companies involved are really, really excited about it.
“We are thrilled to be working with Zynga to give their millions of fans an exciting experience with the Zynga games they love,” said Eric Nyman, SVP and global brand leader at Hasbro Gaming. “Gaming brings people together, especially during the holidays, and we can’t wait to offer friends and families even more great options to play.”
Zynga’s reps were equally gushy. “We are proud to team up with Hasbro and excited for our players to experience their favorite Zynga games in a new way,” said Barry Cottle, executive vice president, corporate and business development, Zynga. “…with the new games from Hasbro, we can make those connections even stronger for our players.”
We think players are making “the connections” quite well, but probably not the way Cottle was hoping. So what do you think, readers? Are Hasbro and Zynga onto something, or will Scrabble remain your arranging-blocks-on-a-physical-board-to-spell-words game of choice?