7/29/2013 11:15 AM ET|
Monopoly pressured to speed up for busy families
Brands are replacing real estate in a new version of the game as people find they have less time to pass 'Go' and collect $200.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Hasbro's (HAS) new take on Monopoly, Monopoly Empire, is ditching real estate for brands and attempting to cut the time spent playing a typical game down to 30 minutes.
Though the Journal initially reported that the original game's "jail" spots were cut out for the sake of brevity -- as was seemingly the case after the recent financial crisis -- Hasbro clarified to The Huffington Post that "jail" was still on the board and the same rules apply.
The new game features flashy gold tokens and replaces Boardwalk, Park Place and other real estate with brands including McDonald's, Coca-Cola (KO) and Xbox -- the last of which is owned by Microsoft (MSFT), which also owns moneyNOW. It's part of a continued effort at Hasbro to relate to kids, who have been shying away from traditional toys and saddled the company with disappointing earnings in the second quarter.
While typical culprits such as increased after-school activities and ubiquitous video games abound, those usual suspects pale in comparison to the threat posed by the Apple (AAPL) iPad and Google (GOOG) Android tablets. The devices steered boys away from aging toy brands just before Christmas last year, while Barbie's reluctance to connect is just one of her flaws that has girls turning away from her in droves and has parent company Mattel (MAT) seeking other options, including its Monster High brand.
As for Monopoly, families have so little time to play it that they can't even sacrifice a few minutes to learn how to play correctly and breeze through the game more quickly. As Huffington Post points out, the original game wouldn't be such a plodding chore if players followed one simple rule and stopped holding up the works for everyone else.
All it takes is a brief look at the instructions to tell players that if they don’t buy property on the spot, the bank puts it up for auction. Still, that trims the game to only 60 to 90 minutes.
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