Mattel extends online Scrabble range with single-player game

LONDON - Mattel has licensed the rights to a single-player version of Scrabble for the UK and Europe to online specialist, in the next stage of its strategy to put the game online.

In Scrabble Zing single players are challenged to play five rounds against the clock -- instead of the traditional two-player format.

The game is free to play on although users can use the game ad-free if they choose to pay for their account.

The rights to the word game are divided between Hasbro in the US and Canada, and Mattel in the rest of the world.

An unlicensed version of the game, Scrabulous, proved wildly popular on Facebook in 2007 and 2008 until pressure from Hasbro and Mattel forced the developers to change it to Lexulous.

Mattel launched an official online version called Scrabble by Mattel, which cannot be played in the US and Canada, through a development partnership with RealNetworks in 2008.

Geoff Walker, senior vice president at Mattel Brands, said: "Just as Scrabble has become a mainstay of word-game lovers, the version debuting on will continue to tap the passions of longtime aficionados online while introducing it to a new generation of gamers."