Marketing offline products in an increasingly digital world can be a difficult task. But gaming company Hasbro is going global to get the word out about its new version of Monopoly.
Starting tomorrow, Hasbro is launching a worldwide game of Monopoly online using Google Maps.
Users begin with $3 million of Monopoly cash in hand and can digitally purchase real city blocks around the world. They can then build skyscrapers, prisons or stadiums and begin collecting rent. Despite what you think about the game of Monopoly, this is a great move for Hasbro.
Combatting the creeping growth of digital games and gamer bias toward less competitive games like Catan, companies like Hasbro have their work cut out for them.
The interactive version of Monopoly is scheduled to last for four weeks and has been launched to promote the new City Edition of the game.
According to the Monopoly City Streets' website:
"The goal is simple. Play to beat your friends and the world to become the richest property magnate in existence."
Beyond simply being an interesting use of Google Maps, if the game catches on, there are opportunities for Hasbro to extend its brand exponentially. If the game is done well, it could update the franchise for the digital age and create new product outlets for Hasbro.
In addition to playing and purchasing streets and towns they know, players can have a say in the way the game is run. At some point today, blog readers can start suggesting new building ideas for the digital game.
But even if the game doesn't take off on a longterm basis, it has a lot of potential to increase sales. After restructuring in 2000, Hasbro has seen sales numbers jump by updating its classic games in recent years. Last month Hasbro created a live version of Candy Land on San Francisco's famously crooked Lombard Street and the company is also benefitting from its newly revamped G.I. Joe line.
Meanwhile, some press members have already gotten early access to the game and have started gobbling up real estate, meaning that some of the best pieces of earth will be purchased even before they go on sale to the general public. Just like in real life!
Monopoly also fails with many adults because it requires almost no strategy. The only meaningful question in the game is: To buy or not to buy?