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Marketplace Scratch Pad

Google’s Monopoly

Scott Jagow Sep 9, 2009

This isn’t an antitrust blog post. Today, Google launched the world’s biggest game of Monopoly. Google Maps is the game board, and you can buy any street in the world and build property on it. Unfortunately, it seems the entire world is trying to play all at once.

I’ve had no luck getting onto the website, monopolycitystreets.com.

The game’s blog says Google is working on increasing “firepower” so things should run more smoothly within a few hours.

The game’s premise is to become the richest property owner on the planet. More from BBC News:

New players are given three million Monopoly dollars to build their virtual empire.

Every street in the world is, in theory, available for purchase.

Once a player has taken control of a street, they are able to charge rent and build new virtual properties. Streets can also be traded and sold with other players.

The game makers have introduced chance cards, which allow players to sabotage neighbouring rivals by building rubbish dumps, prisons or wind farms on their property to reduce the rent value of their neighbours.

Sweet! Capitalism is alive and well. At least the virtual kind.

A blogger at the Guardian got a chance to play a test version of the game before it launched:

I was in a rather benevolent mood when I was invited to flatten a fellow player’s property – how many people own a castle, after all? – but for the purposes of research destroyed a magnificent 15m-Monopoly-dollar property recently constructed in Blackpool by an erstwhile opponent.

This is all very well, and the satisfying graphic of a demolition ball swiftly assuaged any guilt, whilst cementing my position as the top property-dog in Lancashire.

But the problem is the game shows players exactly who has been trying to ruin their empire.

I now have an enemy. A rich enemy. What does that mean for the future of the castle? Are Preston and Penwortham(dale) to be beset by an evil tycoon, hell-bent on dismantling the friendly fiefdom I’ve worked so hard (three or four clicks of the mouse) to develop?

Scary. Very scary.

The game lasts until the end of January. Or until Rich Uncle Pennybags runs out of TARP money.

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