Monopoly puts new cat token in play
The iconic Hasbro board game is introducing the feline after a fan vote. Will it be enough to give sales a boost?
Hasbro (HAS) executives are no doubt hoping Monopoly's new cat token is a lucky charm to goose game sales.
The cat won in a vote that pitted some of the game's venerable icons -- such as the boot, wheelbarrow and iron -- against some new contenders. In the end, the iron got the boot and the cat won out over rivals including a robot and a diamond ring.
For Hasbro, the new token may spur new sales for the game, especially among die-hard Monopoly fans. The company also hopes to appeal to fans of Internet cat videos, handing out a cat token trophy at Wednesday's Internet Cat Video Festival.
While Hasbro has declined to release Monopoly sales figures, most traditional board games have come under pressure from the increasing popularity of smartphone apps, such as Zynga's (ZNGA) FarmVille. Plenty of new table-top games are also grabbing families' time and dollars, such as Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride. Hasbro didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
With families busier than ever, as more homes include two working parents and kids with packed after-school schedules, Hasbro realized it needed to cut down on Monopoly's playing time. Voila, a new version called Monopoly Empire, which reduces at typical game's playing time to a mere 30 minutes.
For any holdouts still mourning the loss of the iron, just remember, it's not the first time Monopoly has retired pieces. The game ditched the lantern, purse and rocking horse in the early 1950s, according to Hasbro.
So what do people think of the new cat token? According to a review on Gizmodo, the feline "looks sassy" and is "about one-half-inch wide by one-half-inch long and blends in flawlessly with its team of capitalist cohorts. It has a face, four legs, a tail -- you know, cat parts."
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