Monday, April 7, 2008

Scrabble on Facebook: Initial experience failure

I tried to play the "legit" version of Scrabble on Facebook today. It was a failure.

I realize that Scrabble is currently in beta, but there's still no excuse for auto-detecting that I'm in North America, giving me a popup that says "you can't play in North America" and dropping me onto a dead page with no way to navigate out.

Having done some research in the area, I understand the legal reasons for not allowing me to play the game yet. Still, there needs to be a fail gracefully fallback:

  • Maybe tell me that it's coming soon and allow me to become a "fan" of the game?
  • Maybe ask me to join a mailing list or petition to help them gauge interest in the game?
  • Maybe ask me to sign up to participate in a North America beta?
  • Maybe even advertise the Hasbro/Mattel store and generate some revenue (this is what it's all about, anyhow).
Unless Scrabulous (the widely popular but illegitimate version on Facebook) is physically removed from the Facebook servers, Scrabble already has a tough row to hoe in terms of winning over fans. Not only does social inertia favor Scrabulous, but hard core fans are already annoyed with Hasbro/Mattel for shutting down Bogglific without offering any decent substitute -- and they've already signed petitions appealing to Facebook to not kill Scrabulous.

Hopefully the Scrabble team will be as nimble and quick to update and polish their game as the Scrabulous folks have been. The regular updates have greatly improved the user experience -- moving from fixing serious performance issues and bugs to the nice polish iterations (most recently adding a text link to jump immediately to your next game where you have a move).

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