Now 'Scrabble' is a word in Scrabble

An active Scrabble game.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Now every Scrabble player knows the rules -- no proper nouns allowed. But there's a new version of Scrabble headed to stores in the U.K., and Marketplace's Stacey Vanek-Smith says people, places, brands, companies -- it's all fair game.


Stacey Vanek-Smith: TiVo, Kanye, Pepsi -- will all be legal in the new edition of Scrabble. Toy industry analyst Sean McGowan says this will attract younger players -- and more M-O-N-E-Y

They may not have the SAT word vocabulary that the older player might have, but this generation of, say, kids under 25, extremely plugged into pop culture, it gives them something against an older player.

But some old-school Scrabblers are skeptical.

Richard Gottlieb: Horrified!

Industry Consultant and card-carrying Scrabble player Richard Gottlieb says the changes dumb the game down, which Scrabble doesn't need to do.

Gottlieb: We have a ton of new, young people get in to Scrabble, due to Scrabulous.

That would be the scrabble-style game that took Facebook by storm. But industry analyst Sean McGowan points out the new Scrabble could generate new products -- for instance, can you spell Jay-Z without a hyphen?

Then they're going to sell the real Scrabble dictionary of proper names in the time-honored tradition of creating a problem and then selling the solution.

The recession has given board games a bump. Sales were up 4 percent last year.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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