Monopoly City Streets
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|Monopoly City Streets|
Monopoly City Streets' logo
|Release date(s)||September 9, 2009|
Monopoly City Streets was a live massive multiplayer online (MMOG) browser game using the Monopoly board game on real world streets using Google Maps and OpenStreetMap. The game was developed by Tribal DDB, Hasbro's digital agency, with support from Google.1 The game was launched on September 9, 2009 and ended on December 9, 2009.2 The game has more than 5 million accounts in time of its end.3
The goal is simple. Become the richest property magnate in the world! 4 Start by buying streets with a given float, build small houses to large skyscrapers, sabotage other players streets as play continues against the rest of the world.
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Players start out with 3 million virtual monopoly dollars to purchase properties and buildings. A player's wealth increases daily by receiving rent from the properties and buildings he or she owns. Rent is only paid at 12:00 AM UTC on each day that a player logs in, creating an incentive for daily play. If a player does not log in for two weeks, the bank will repossess all of the player's properties and buildings.
The price of a street is dependent on the length of the street,5 due to longer streets being able to house more buildings, thus having a greater potential value than a street that can only house a few buildings. In addition, rent is taxed at 3% per street for each street over five owned. Owning 38 streets, the tax rate is 100% and the player will not collect any rent.
Players can buy, sell, and negotiate prices between other players. Players have to pay the deed price as a minimum and may only pay 150% of the deed price as a maximum for levels 1 and 2 (reaching level 3 removes this cap and the maximum offer value is unlimited); Property may be offered in addition as part of a trade. There are no mortgages to raise cash, instead, a property and all its buildings may be sold to the bank for half the current street's value, for both the street and all its buildings. Selling a street with buildings on it returns the money as would selling the buildings off individually, but does not count towards each building being sold one at a time to get a greater chance for a chance card.
The game did not offer any tools to facilitate trading process between players. So the players around the globe are making attempts to build a meeting point where they could offer their streets, instead to the bank for half the price, to others and maybe profit much more from the trade.
Every time the player buys a building or street, they may receive a Chance Card,6 which are either bonus cards, hazard cards or bulldozer cards. Bonus building cards allow the player to build a stadium, park or school on any street they own. A single bonus building on a street negates the effect of any existing hazards there, and prevents other players placing new hazards, or demolishing buildings. Bonus buildings may be demolished, and must all be demolished before any other building on a street can be demolished. So having more than one bonus building does not allow one bonus building to protect the others on the same street.
Hazard cards allow the player to build a prison, factory or waste plant on an opponent's street that does not already have a bonus building and is not full of other buildings. Hazards prevent rent from being collected on that street. Bulldozer cards allow the player to demolish a building on any opponent's street that is not protected by a bonus building; or a hazard on their own street. Other cards will cause the player to gain or lose money.
There are two primary factors influencing strategy. First, since the tax rate increases as the number of streets owned increases, players prefer longer, more expensive streets because they can fit more buildings. Secondly, while expensive buildings pay more rent, the rent to cost ratio decreases as buildings become more expensive. Players must decide the correct balance between the number of streets and types of buildings owned.
More expensive buildings are larger and take up more space. However, a player that fills his street with only one type of building will often be able to fit smaller, less expensive buildings between them, thus increasing rent output on "full" streets while remaining at the same tax rate.
At higher levels, multiplayer strategy becomes more important. If a player is wealthy enough to appear on the Leaderboard, his streets are likely to be sabotaged with bulldozers and hazards. However, sabotaging another player's streets, especially less wealthy players, invites retribution. Famous streets are likely to attract higher bids than obscure streets equivalent in length.
Owning adjacent streets or a large number of streets in a small area has no benefit.
Since its launch on September 9, 2009, the game has had severe web server problems due to the huge number of people trying to access the website and create accounts at once. This has resulted in the site continuing to be temporarily unavailable or sluggish for most visitors.7
From the beginning of the game's launch, several problems crippled the game. The lack of adequate server support notwithstanding, players also faced the loss of in-game currency as well as access to the roads they purchased. Many players reported losing money in auctions and in attempting to purchase properties and buildings. In addition, a serious flaw existed that allowed new users to register accounts with previously existing names. Those streets that were assigned to that account became inaccessible, both to the previous account holder as well as the new one, but were still visible as being owned by that account name. Other players reported that rent was not being paid and troubles with selling buildings on properties.8
Monopoly City Streets reset all game data on September 17, 2009, 8 days after initial launch. This would allow people who were unable to access the game when it first started to have an even chance against those who had been playing for the first 8 days.9 However, although there was notice of when the game would be taken down, there was no specified time as to when the game would be back up.10
After the pre-payday for September 21, all the rent for buildings was reset causing many people to lose millions in the game going back to the original rent scheme. All buildings give the same rent no matter what street (or its length) they are placed on. This was seen by players as one of the methods to reduce cheating, but the backlash has only caused those cheating to become more powerful as players dumped their entire game fortunes on a single street to end up getting less rent than they would have prior to converting to a single developed street.
As a game that gets played on real world streets, the map becomes an important part of the game. For this, both Google Maps and OpenStreetMap are used, however both play rather different roles in the way they are used. The map background the player sees is provided by Google, as well as the geo-search functionality. In contrast, the underlying data is taken from OpenStreetMap, as Google Maps does not provide, or allow, the possibility to use vector data.1 This means that the names, the properties and the geometries of the roads the players buy and see highlighted on the map come from OpenStreetMap. It also means that only those roads that are in the OpenStreetMap dataset can be bought.
As the Google Maps background and the OpenStreetMap data are two completely distinct datasets, there are obviously some discrepancies for example in the form of some roads are shown on Google Maps, but not available yet in OpenStreetMap or vice versa streets that one can buy as they are in OpenStreetMap, but aren't shown on Google Maps. Another example is that the highlighted roads don't always match up exactly with the map background.11 As both try to depict the real world as accurately as possible though, the artifacts should mostly be small.
OpenStreetMap uses the concept of a wiki, i.e. everyone can add, update and correct any roads they notice are wrong or missing, thus the dataset is rapidly evolving.12 Monopoly City Streets however has decided to not update their snapshot of the OpenStreetMap data.13
- Monopoly City Streets: Almost there
- Monopoly City Streets: MONOPOLY City Streets to end on December 9
- Jeff DeChambeau: Monopoly City Streets: Eschewing innovation in search of ‘better sameness’
- tab Quote from Monopoly City Streets Gaming Rules
- "Mr Monopoly is watching". Mr. Monopoly. Hasbro. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
- Google’s Monopoly City Streets is live and down already Soft Sailor 09 September 2009
- "Just so you know...". Mr. Monopoly. Hasbro. 10 September 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2009.
- Monopoly City Streets: RESTART DATE SET
- Monopoly City Streets - OpenStreetMap
- Stats - OpenStreetMap
- Monopoly City Streets: Changes