Only a Game? A Fight Over Scrabble Has Web Fans Fuming

Click for NY Times story

I sure hope Hasbro thought this through as there has been a huge backlash against them. This story is a great case study for making decisions and then looking at what can go wrong when you implement the alternative you choose.

In case you don’t follow the link and read the story, here’s a quick summary:

Hasbro holds the rights to Scrabble in North America. Two brothers wrote a version called Scrabulous as an application to run on Facebook, the huge social networking site. Scrabulous became very popular. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Hasbro was having it’s own version developed by Electronic Arts. The feedback from the online community? Hasbro version bad, Scrabulous good. Hasbro sues the brothers for copyright infringement. The North American Facebook users are upset and are looking to boycott Hasbro. Interestingly enough, outside of North America, Mattel owns the rights to Scrabble. Similar to Hasbro, Mattel has come up with an online version. Similar to Hasbro, the Facebook community prefers Scrabulous.

I don’t know what plans Mattel has but I bet they are learing from Hasbro’s experience.

Sometimes when you are right, you are wrong. Is this one of those times?

What else might Hasbro have done? How about partnering with the writers of Scrabulous? A celebration for a great online implementation of the old board game classic? A marketing program based around the online version?

I’m not saying I know all the particulars in this case. What I do know is a set of standard problem solving and decision making processes would ensure a balanced look at the issues surrounding this case and a decision would be made with a high probability of success.

Call us for more information. We can help.

John Schneyer
Boca Consultants

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