Over the weekend, international users of the popular Scrabulous game were shocked to find that their favorite applications was no longer accessible. By Monday word has spread around the world via traditionl media outlets which were all reporting the source of the shut down was surprisingly not the Agarwalla brothers (who developed the applications), but instead Facebook who was responding to pressure from Mattel.
The one place where Scrabulous is still available is India but that may not be for long. In response to a law suit filed against Scrabulous, the brothers who developed the application decided to shut it down and relaunch a modified version of the game called Wordscraper. So far, the application has attracted over 262,000 monthly users so far. That’s a far cry from the more than 500,000 active daily users that Scrabulous used to have.
Electronic Arts and Hasbro also released an official version of Scrabble which has now attracts over 382,000 monthly active users. It appears that the Agarwalla brothers will have to suffice with only a few hundred thousand active users rather than the millions they previously had. This should still be sufficient for the brothers to make a living but the battles with Mattel have most definitely stunted the company’s growth.
Facebook’s decision was guided by the risk of facing “liability for copyright and trademark infringement” according to AP News. Tough luck for the Agarwalla brothers and it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t take advantage of the remaining hours to direct Scrabulous uses to their updated Wordscraper game. I have a feeling that this story isn’t over until Scrabulous is shut down everywhere, including India.