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Page last updated at 09:49 GMT, Tuesday, 8 July 2008 10:49 UK
'Official Scrabble' on Facebook
Scrabble
The first version of Scrabble was created in America in 1938

Gaming company EA have launched a new official version of Scrabble on social networking website, Facebook.

The firm has done a deal with Hasbro, the owners of the game in the US and Canada, to release the application.

A different version of the game is already available in other parts of the world because the rights are owned by Mattel.

An unofficial version of Scrabble on Facebook, called Scrabulous, has 450,000 users around the world.

Scrabble drawbacks

The split in rights for the official version of Scrabble means that Facebook users in North America won't be able to play the authorized version with friends in the rest of the world.

That's leading to fears users might still turn to the unauthorized Scrabulous.

Scrabulous game on Facebook
Two brothers from India launched Scrabulous on Facebook in 2006
But Hasbro and EA officials in the US and Canada don't think that's a problem, saying players tend to live in the same country.

Like the unauthorized version, EA's Scrabble on Facebook is designed to let two people play without being online at the same time.

One player makes a move, then waits until the next time his or her rival logs on.

Users can also play on their iPods in the States by downloading an application for $5 (2.50) and on other mobile devices for $4 (2).

The company also has the rights to offer it on digital consoles like the Nintendo Wii.

Scrabulous on Facebook

Scrabulous was designed by Rajat and Jayant Agarwalla, two brothers from Calcutta in India.

They say they created the game after they couldn't find an online version of Scrabble that they liked.

Hasbro and Mattel have started legal action against four parties involved in the development, hosting and marketing of Scrabulous.

That has led to fans starting a Save Scrabulous group on Facebook.

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