Japanese gamers buy up Google’s City Streets

October 3rd, 2009 by Jason Jenkins

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Nearly a month after the launch of Google City Streets, many of Tokyo's hottest properties have been snapped up

Many of today’s parents complain that their kids have abandoned cultural touchstones like checkers and chess for the digital decadence of World of Warcraft and Monster Hunter 3, but now Google has given one of the most popular (and conventional) board games in the world a modern spin.

Google City Streets takes Monopoly to a completely new level, incorporating the Internet giant’s mapping technology  to make the entire world the game itself. Launched in September, the game provides each new player with $3 million in electronic funny-money to start buying up the word’s streets. This includes everything from Broadway to the Autobahn to Takeshita Dori, but, as Diego from the Anime Affairs blog points out, many people may be satisfied by simply owning the street they live on in real life.

A quick spin through the site indicates that many of Tokyo’s hottest properties are filling up, with areas like Roppongi and Waseda seeing more development than Nagatacho and Marunouchi, possibly an indication of the median age of those who play. And was that some hazardous-looking power-plants I saw built inside the Imperial Palace?

City Streets has had a few problems since launch, including the makers hitting the re-set button, meaning that early-adopters lost their virtual properties. Property taxes were also introduced after relaunch, altering player’s strategy but bringing the game closer to reality.

Related news:

UPDATE: as of 8PM on Saturday, Oct 3rd, I couldn’t connect with the Monopoly City Streets site. Crashed again from the hordes aspiring property developers?

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