A few days ago, Electronic Arts released a major update to its official iPhone version of Scrabble. Judging from its changelog, the update brings changes that are quite exciting for fans of the game. But the update actually brings undocumented changes that are, to say the least, unwelcome.

AppAdvice reader Mike P. called our attention to the issue at hand via email:

Would you like to witness MASS DISSATISFACTION over an app update? Check out what’s happening at EA Games’ update of the classic board game Scrabble. They just performed an update that has left lifelong Scrabble players up in arms with a total revamping of the game for the sheer sake of revamp. The game was not in need of many changes, if any, and has left users scratching their heads, and in my case, has led me to delete Scrabble from both my iPhone AND iPad.

Below is a list of Scrabble’s “updated features”:

  • Place tiles on the board when it’s not even your turn
  • Express yourself with the new Chat feature, now with emoticons and time stamps
  • View your opponent’s last score – right on the board
  • Start-up a random game (without waiting for a friend)
  • Swipe up and down on the game board to toggle between Scrabble matches
  • Invite your friends to play more easily (now with full Origin integration)
  • Ask the Teacher! You get clearer feedback than ever before

The update also promises better graphics, load times, and chat functionality.

Quite an impressive update, right? On paper, yes. In reality, though, far from it.

You need only look at the customer ratings for the game in the App Store to realize the “mass dissatisfaction” Mike is referring to.

Out of the 1,600-plus ratings for the game, over 1,300 are one-star ratings from dissatisfied customers.

A common complaint among customers points to the new version’s plasticky Words with Friends-like appearance.

EA’s Scrabble

Another is its giving undue importance to opponent suggestions over active games.

Yet another is the relegation of the moves list to the dictionary section, of all places.

Also, games sometimes don’t load at all, which is the exact opposite of one of the update’s promised improvements.

The bottomline? What should have been an upgrade has ended up being a downgrade.

Over at the official Facebook page for the game, the situation is not so different from that in the App Store. Players are also voicing out their disappointment in one of the comment thread on the Facebook page.

One user even goes so far as to suggest that the update was intentionally botched by EA in order to force users to purchase a possible new and improved version of Scrabble.

Well, given that EA has been named as the “Worst Company in America,” I have to say that that scenario is highly likely. Remember its “new and improved” version of Tetris for iPad a few months ago?

So, if you haven’t updated to the latest version of Scrabble, it’s recommended that you don’t. But if you have, we’d like to know: Did EA really mess up again?