RealNetworks is quietly introducing a version of Scrabble on Facebook, despite pledging to save Scrabulous, the game's unauthorized online...

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RealNetworks is quietly introducing a version of Scrabble on Facebook, despite pledging to save Scrabulous, the game’s unauthorized online version.

Gamehouse, a division of RealNetworks, recently introduced “Scrabble by Mattel” on Facebook. The game is technically available only to players outside the U.S. and Canada.

The rights to Scrabble are owned by competing companies, Hasbro and Mattel, a situation that seems to be hobbling the game’s introduction to social-networking sites and complicating negotiations with the creators of Scrabulous.

Hasbro and Mattel have threatened legal action to shut Scrabulous. Seattle-based RealNetworks said in March it was working to save the game. The debut of a rival game on Facebook seems to indicate an about-face in strategy.

RealNetworks public-relations manager Ryan Luckin said in an e-mail the company had been “working with Mattel for a few months now on a version of Scrabble for Facebook.” Scrabble by Mattel, the message said, is still being tested.