Australian 360 Owners: No Scrabble For You!

Australian 360 Owners: No Scrabble For You!


EA rolled out Hasbro Family Game Night for Xbox Live Arcade last week as part of Microsoft’s Days of Arcade promotion. Battleship, Yahtzee and Connect 4 were included, but the one I wanted to play was Scrabble. Thing is, we’re not allowed to play Scrabble on our Xbox 360s in Australia.

Scrabble is one of the games available in the North American version of Family Game Night. But here in Australia it isn’t. Why? Licensing, that’s why, according to an Xbox spokesperson:

EA has a complex licensing agreement with Hasbro which is limiting Scrabble to US/Canada for the time being.

Annoying, because Scrabble is only one of those games worth playing. Doubly annoying is that Hasbro’s other awesome word game, Boggle, originally announced as part of the Family Game Night compilation, has since mysteriously vanished. Who knew casual gaming could be so complicated?


  • Do you only use words recognised by the dictionary, or do words like ‘LOL’ and ‘PWNAGE’ make it onto your Scrabble board?

  • Not EA’s fault. Scrabble is owned by Mattel everywhere else in the world, while Hasbro own it in America. Mattel license Scrabble to Ubisoft, so you get your seperate Scrabble 2009 games on DS and such.

    It’s shit, but we can’t do anything about it. This is worldwide outside of the US and Canada. Boggle never went up – it and Sorry! will be up at a later date.

  • And yet, the achievements relating to both Boggle and Scrabble still sit within the game, forever unachievable. It’s like a piece of really crappy boardgame-themed performance art.

  • Another fine bs example of australia (or just non-america) being ‘too small’ a market for them to even bother.

    Even though EU and JP are freakin’ massive.

    Get a clue Mattel.

  • I love Scrabble. Play it frequently. Used to play at amateur competitions years back. But… I can’t get used to playing it online. There’s something about not being able to see my opponent (not normally a problem when playing online board games) and when your opponent is just spewing out max point words each turn, then you know something is fishy.

    Is it just me, or does online Scrabble feel full of cheating. Or at least, every version I’ve played thus-far does.

  • “Annoying, because Scrabble is only one of those games worth playing.”


    Yahtzee > Scrabble

    Im dissapointed in you.

  • @Bob — I haven’t played the XBLA version of scrabble (vs a human/online opponent) yet, but I think it’s safe to assume that you’re going to see a fair number of cheaters. I base this on my experience as a casual tinkerer with (non-xbl) chess engines… Although there are plenty of places where individuals are allowed/encouraged to pit “my automated chess program versus yours,” there are still a large number of people who feel the need to go play in (what are supposed to be) user-vs-user games, with their chess engine de jure running in the background (computing optimal moves, providing “hints,” or just playing the game directly in some cases).

    This apparent need for some people to “look smart” (via cheating), even at casual “Yahoo Chess” type game sites, combined with the rampant cheating on XBL in practically every other player-versus-player game available….yeah, that leads me to assume you’re gonna run into some cheaters.

    This is (possibly) worsened by the fact that in other games (say Gears of War 2, for example) most common cheating methods require hardware/network trickery, which at least requires a tiny bit of intelligence/understanding/effort on the part of the cheater. This isn’t a huge barrier to overcome, considering all the how-to documents out there regarding lag-switches and the like — but if someone wants to cheat in XBLA Scrabble, the bar is much, much lower.*

    *Ostensibly, more people can grasp the concept of “flip through the dictionary and look for a solution” than can/will go to the effort of building a lag switch or what-have-you. And if they have a laptop nearby, sites like (et al) make cheating so absurdly easy…well, I assume I’ve belaborizafied (that’s a legal word, right?) my point enough already. hehe

    Sadly, this kind of reality is what’s making XBL become (in my opinion), either:

    a place where you can either play with a group of friends (who you know well enough to trust them not to cheat)


    an endless source of frustration (for me) and an endless source of revenue (for Acid Reflux specialists and providers of headache remedies).

    Cheers and good luck…

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