Why traditional board game manufacturers are getting their online rivals on board – Features – Gadgets & Tech – The Independent
The big players in board games have traditionally approached their online rivals by crushing them. In 2008, Hasbro successfully sued the Indian developers of Scrabulous, a popular Facebook game inspired by Scrabble, Hasbro’s most famous brand. Four years later, the gaming giant is not only tolerating its latest digital competitor – it’s on the same team.
Words With Friends is just about different enough to be legal, but Christmas shoppers will recognise its debt to the 1948 original. Online, the game boasted 20 million users at its peak, the majority playing on smartphones via Facebook. Now, its maker, the US social gaming firm, Zynga, has swapped pixels for cardboard and signed up with Hasbro. “The popular mobile game comes to life!” says the box, right, which is on sale now for £20 and gives the firms equal billing.
The unlikely marriage will have followed a lengthy engagement but arguably reveals much about the unpredictable and relative fortunes of the digital and physical words. Zynga should have been the toast of Wall Street when it floated less than a year ago but shares in the developer have dropped more than 75 per cent since, and it announced job cuts last month. The popularity of its games, meanwhile has fallen almost as sharply (nearly by half in the case of Words With Friends).