How to Lose Gamers and Alienate People

The whole Hasbro vs Scrabulous affair and lawsuit is pretty stupid. Hasbro’s citing of copyright infringement — there is none, game rules are not copyrightable — in what is, essentially, a possible trademark case comes across as nothing more than strong arming. They were caught flat-footed and couldn’t compete so they sicced their lawyers at them.

But I don’t want to rant about that part of the story. What is fascinating is everything that happened after they managed to take down the Scrabulous application. It was, in short, a disaster (Hasbro learns how to spell B-O-T-C-H-E-D). In the place of that hugely popular application they put up an official(TM) SCRABBLE(R) game that barely worked, didn’t have all the features of Scrabulous, got hacked and it is not available worldwide. Hasbro used, unfairly, copyright to kill the competition and then gets fucked by it itself: Hasbro only has the rights to the SCRABBLE name in North America. Way to go guys!

Not surprisingly, this brought about a flood of indignant comments and reviews from the formerly Scrabulous community. It’s funny to read these because they have the same kind of fervour you would expect from the early-teen, frothing at the mouth so-called “hardcore” gaming set. You expect this kind of response from them in regards to, say, a negative review of Metal Gear Solid or the graphics in Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. And yet those same people say that the “casual” crowd, as though they are being threatened by them, don’t care about videogames. The reviews at Facebook prove otherwise. The derided casual masses care a lot, especially if you fuck with their Scrabble.

Modal image