Facebook might be neutral on the subject, but it is fair to say that Scrabulous was an enormous success for its business. And, while Wordscraper may have a chance of some success, the company has found something it believes could be even bigger.
"When your goal is to get long-term usage and engagement, it's hard to find new and imaginative ways to secure people's attention," said an insider.
In short, you can't just copy something that's been around for a while and has illuminated lifeless dinner parties since people started experimenting with pre-marital sex.
I am, therefore, very fortunate to have been given a preview of Facebook's incredible new game by its Seattle-based designers.
So let me be the first to reveal the name of the new game.
An excellent and memorable name, I am sure you will agree.
The concept is utterly revolutionary. You have a certain amount of money given to you to start the game. And you have to make more and more money as you go along. You can buy, trade or rent properties that sit in a quite delightful color scheme along the edges of the Monopolous board.
The properties have really crazy names that must have been made up by some very, very clever people.
Here's just a few: Orion. Adscape. Trendalyzer. Marratech. (I thought they meant Marrakesh, but, believe me, I was wrong.)
Then I saw one I really did recognize. GrandCentral. But still I felt confused. This game appeared so terribly random. None of these names seemed to have any relationship with each other. It was all so obviously made up to avoid any issues of intellectual property.
Yet, when I kept looking down the list, I wasn't so sure.
Because there was FeedBurner. And DoubleClick. Those names seemed vaguely familiar, but I just couldn't place them.
And you should have seen the prices of some of these things. $3.1 billion for the DoubleClick property.
Monopolous's designers, however, promised that there was more than enough money to go around for anybody who wanted to play. Which was a relief. Apparently, the game has its own sort of bank that prints more money when you need it. It's called Wall Street. I thought that was quite funny. I mean, there's no intellectual property on Wall Street, is there?
Of course, Monopolous has a few pitfalls for players.
In one corner is a square that says "Go to Jail for Anti-Trust Violations". Which seemed a bit of a mouthful, but it didn't look too bad on screen. And then there's a mysterious square that's just a really big question mark and the word SEARCH.
I'm not such a good player of these board games, myself, so I didn't really figure out what that one might be about.
Also, at one corner was a square that said FREE PARKING. And at the other corner was one that said FREE CRECHE (for some). I don't really know how these affect the game either.
Then I saw one property called YouTube, which I thought was also funny, given that there's no way YouTube would sue for intellectual property infringement.
And I began to realize that all these 'properties' were companies owned by Google now. I was beginning to really warm to the concept. Monopolous. Clever.
But then I noticed that there was one property that was one of the purple set of properties. It was also the most expensive at $300billion. It was called Yahoo.
This, I thought, was a bit much. I mean, what were the designers trying to do here? There were surely going to be copyright problems with using the word 'Yahoo'. So I immediately put in a call to the game designers.
I'll let you know what they say when they call back.
The game design company is one that Facebook says they haven't worked with before. It's called Microhard.