Speculation mounts that casual game firm will buy popular Facebook application - battle with EA in the offing?

RealNetworks to buy Scrabulous?

The creators of popular Facebook game Scrabulous may find a convenient end to their legal spat with the Scrabble trademark-holder Hasbro, with casual games giant RealNetworks possibly buying the game.

Speaking to the New York Times, Bill Hankes, VP of corporate communications at RealNetworks said his firm was ‘working closely with the Agarwalla brothers [the duo which developed Scrabulous] to bring the official Scrabble game to Facebook users’.

"We are in a unique position to bring all the parties together in an effort to preserve the Scrabble experience for millions of Scrabulous fans," said Hankes, pointing out that Real was a licensee with both Scrabble rights holders Mattel and Hasbro.

He then told site Gigaom: "We aren’t saying anything that specific, except that we’re big fans of Scrabulous and think because of our licences from both Hasbro and Mattel that we’re in a good position to work with them keep the Scrabble experience on Facebook."

Buying the game would bolster the firm’s use of the official Scrabble brand, but also harness the legitimacy of the Scrabulous fanbase.

However, Real may not be the only firm looking to emualate Scrabulous’ success online – EA is also a licensee of the game, although only with US rights holder Hasbro, and plans to release an online web version of the game in the coming months.

Scrabulous reportedly makes around £25,000 a month in online advertising.

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