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Subject: Scrabble app changes anger players on Facebook

Written By: Philip Eno on 06/17/13 at 2:48 pm

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 , 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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