Scrabble app changes anger players on Facebook

Scrabble app The game has attracted more than 3.6m "likes" on Facebook since it originally launched.

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Thousands of players have taken to Facebook to complain about changes made to a popular mobile Scrabble app.

The changes have been made by Electronic Arts (EA), which took over the running of the app from Scrabble brand owner Mattel at the end of May.

Players are angry that their player histories have been wiped, the dictionary has changed and the board no longer refreshes itself after a turn.

Mattel apologised but added that the update had also attracted new players.

The firm said new features included the ability to play the game in six languages, customise the board, and pay for an ad-free version.

The game also uses the Collins dictionary rather than the traditional Chambers edition.

The app's official page on Facebook has more than 3.6m "likes" but most of these were amassed before the update and almost all of the recent comments are from players asking for the old version to be returned.

A Facebook group set up by players called "please bring back the Scrabble we love" has more than 2,000 members.

Lost history

"Who wants to play it in six languages?" player Helen Hawkins, from Kent, asked the BBC.

"I've been playing for over four years, I had 5,000 games on my statistics, I'd won 71% of them, I had my best scores recorded - and now it's all lost."

Mattel confirmed that players' previous data could not be restored.

"As part of the transition [to EA Mobile], we were unable to carry over ongoing games and statistics, the timer mode and the manual match-making function. The new version will have the same robust statistics moving forward," it said in a statement.

Ms Hawkins said the ability to play quick games, in which each player had to make a move within two or five minutes, had also been lost in the upgrade, and that people who played regularly together but were not Facebook friends could no longer contact each other.

"I haven't played it since the upgrade," she said.

"A lot of people have stopped, the new version is just hopeless. You have to refresh the board every time you play, it's hopeless compared with the old version."

A spokeswoman for Mattel told the BBC the firm was sorry for any upset caused.

"We are sorry we weren't able to please everybody," she said.

"The number of people playing has also increased significantly since the update.

"We produce the board game but we're not experts in electronics."

EA was unavailable for comment.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    heres a tip for everyone angered by this appalling world changing change.

    dont play it, give your heads a shake and get some perspective on life

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.


    You aren't being intentionally ironic, are you? To have so little to complain about that you spend your time insulting people who are, quite rightly, complaining about something that's important to them... Ha ha!

    For PC use, check out ISC (Internet Scrabble Club). Best option around in my book. Vote with you feet. Put the dross in the bin and go elsewhere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    What worries me is that this may be the thin end of the wedge. With the attempt to turn games into services with Simcity (and the outright lies that went with that), and now seeing how people will respond to large scale changes purely to make things easier for EA, without the recourse of a refund. They may be attempting to establish that a game having major changes for the worst "just happens"

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    a) I thought the official Scrabble dictionary was the Collins dictionary (since 2003), so that seems a reasonable change

    b) The old score data could have been kept. It's nonsense to say it couldn't have been. It should have been obvious to Mattel/EA that it would be a big problem if they didn't keep it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    Didn't anybody know? EA stands for "Erase All"

    I would add a "LOL" on that but you are all far too sophisticated.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    Congrats to all the players who are distraught at the "appalling" and 'repulsive' changes &mourning the loss of their scores. etc, on their wonderful lives, where these issues are paramount. I, for one, would love a life where these were the pressing issues in my life. I have a board game called Scrabble at home and I can play it with whom I want, when I want and I don't even keep my scores!

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    EA: where games go to die.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    I buy a red car and a few years later the company is bought and the new owners come and paint my car blue, they also remove the electric windows; without asking.

    Of course the Scrabble players have a right to be angry!

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.


    > Can't come up with his own insult, re-uses what he perceives as an insult.

    Judging by what you've said you've got an xbox. So maybe you should brush up on who'll be screwed in the long run by their "renting" service.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    EA... This company really do know how to (mis)treat it's customer base... A game of Fifa anyone? Or how about Simcity?

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    There are thousands of disgruntled Facebook Scrabblers who have lost the ability to choose their own 'random' opponents (thus avoiding the pervs who haunt game sites!) and play quick, timed games. EA are adamant that they have 'improved' the game but players have voted with their feet so it's hard to see who could have benefitted. EA have lost advertising potential and we have lost a great game!

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    1. I can't believe this is news.
    2. I can't believe how angry people get over something so trivial.
    3. 5,000 games in 4 years? 3.427 games a day? Do something constructive. Please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    EA have any understanding of the game or the people who play it. It isn't FarmVille. I had intelligent, regular opponents I could play and chat with all over the world. I've now lost all those. Now, I can't choose my opponents or how long I want a game to be.

    Mattel's approach on the Scrabble Facebook page is to simply ignore the tens of thousands of complaints, making a PR disaster much worse.

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    Makes you wonder about the ownership of data - firms are supposed ot take great care to only collect the data you permit, but there seems to be no reciprocal need to maintain the data collected other than to prevent unauthorised access

    I'd be very annoyed if a dataset I'd built up over time, containing a personal history was deliberately deleted without my consent

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    So, just to get this straight, are we saying that EA is a game changer?

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    It made me chuckle that only four days ago the EA put out a story saying they didn't want to be hated anymore...
    "Electronic Arts: Video games firm wants to stop being 'hated'"

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The way EA/Mattel have gone about this change is appalling. The way they have communicated to us is as if we are stupid.The changes are repulsive to the seasoned lover of the classic game. The marketing is towards US and children. No market research was done that I know of asking what regulars what they like or want in the game. I have lost friends, stats and my evenings have been taken away by EA

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Like countless others, I have written on both the Mattel and Scrabble 'fan' facebook pages with my views, suggestions and questions about the disastrous downgrade of Scrabble and elicited absolutely no reponse (other than to be blocked from the Scrabble page, although I have been polite and reasonable throughout).


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