Fans of casual, family-friendly games are about to see their circle of fun widen with a slate of new Hasbro-branded digital play experiences on a variety of platforms from Electronic Arts Inc (NASDAQ:ERTS) in 2009. Leading the charge is SCRABBLE, which rocketed to the No. 1 position on Pogo.comTM with more than 2.5 million players laying down virtual tiles since its June 2008 launch. The best-selling crossword puzzle board game is on deck to land on handheld platforms including the Nintendo DSTM and Sony PlayStation®Portable system (PSP®) in March 2009 in the US and Canada. EA is also gearing up to inject nostalgic fun into the Xbox LIVE® Arcade by bringing perennial board game favorites to the popular platform. Under a Hasbro Family Game Night banner, games such as SCRABBLE (US and Canada only), BOGGLE, BATTLESHIP, YAHTZEE, CONNECT FOUR, SORRY! and SORRY! Sliders will begin to roll out in Spring 2009. EA will showcase the highly anticipated lineup at the Consumer Electronics Show on January 8-11, 2009 in Las Vegas.
“We believe our Hasbro Family Game Night channel on Xbox LIVE Arcade will be one of the most dynamic and fun collections available on the platform,” said Chip Lange, General Manager of EA Hasbro. “We’ve been given the unique opportunity to create an exclusive EA Hasbro branded destination within the Xbox LIVE Arcade so players can easily find and play our lineup of family-friendly digital board games. Just as families have game closets in their home, they will also be able to stock a digital game closet serving up hours of interactive play for kids and adults alike.”
“The consumer response to Hasbro’s brands arriving on digital platforms in such fresh, inventive ways has been incredibly positive,” said Mark Blecher, General Manager of Digital Media and Gaming at Hasbro. “SCRABBLE alone has taken the US and Canadian markets by storm in a very short period of time and we expect the momentum to remain at full throttle through the Nintendo DS and PSP handheld releases and beyond. The level of creativity and meticulous execution that EA has poured into the re-imagination of the SCRABBLE and Hasbro Family Game Night experiences have set the bar very high for the many other games under development, but we’re confident that we’ve just scratched the surface of what digital fun feels, looks and plays like. It’s going to be a very exciting year for casual game fans.”
SCRABBLE on the Nintendo DS and PSP will offer something for every crossword puzzle fan with three modes of play including: Classic, which offers traditional play; Speed, where players race the clock; and, the new fast paced SCRABBLE SLAM card game, where players try to be the first to discard all their SLAM cards by making four letter words. SLAM will be available for the first time digitally on the handheld versions of SCRABBLE. With six difficulty levels, SCRABBLE will serve up a Training mode with six training exercises that enable new or rusty players to polish their skills before their first big showdown. SCRABBLE comes loaded with extras such as SCRABBLE Word Finder and Wi-Fi multiplayer capability (both single and multi-cart play). Debuting in March 2009, the Nintendo DS and PSP games are expected to be rated “E” for Everyone and carry an MSRP of $29.99.
The SCRABBLE Nintendo DS and PSP games will join the roster of previously released versions which have proven to hold great appeal, similar to its board game counterpart. In the past two years, EA launched three separate mobile versions of the game (in the US and Canada only) - including SCRABBLE for the iPod®, iPhoneTM and feature phones. Online versions of SCRABBLE also launched on Pogo.com and social networking sites in June 2008. All have been widely adopted and received accolades across platforms.
- SCRABBLE was the No. 1 multiplayer game in its launch month, competing against more than 100 other offerings on Pogo.com. In July 2008, more than 5 million SCRABBLE games were played, equating to 4.3 million hours of play.
- SCRABBLE for the iPhone and iPod touch launched in July and quickly rose into the top 25 of all applications. Today, out of over 8,000 applications on the App Store, SCRABBLE remains in or near the top 50.
EA and Hasbro will stock Xbox LIVE Arcade with Hasbro Family Game Night, a crowd-pleasing assortment of games that are instantly recognizable household names such as SCRABBLE, CONNECT FOUR, BOGGLE, YAHTZEE, BATTLESHIP, SORRY!, and SORRY! Sliders. All games will feature both original and new ways to play, including a Party Mode that features multiple mini-game versions of each title. Additional customization features will allow players to earn virtual trophies, furniture and themes to decorate their personal virtual game rooms. The Hasbro Family Game Night lineup will take full advantage of Xbox LIVE community features such as online play, Achievements, the ability to launch new games without leaving the environment, and sharing customized space with friends. The EA Hasbro virtual game closet is slated to open in Spring 2009 with multiple games followed by additional releases throughout the year.
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