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Gaming the real estate market

Online Monopoly goes hyperlocal, uses Google Maps

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Negotiating purchase prices, selling assets, and collecting rent isn't just a part of real-world real estate -- these are key features of Hasbro's Monopoly CityStreets, a new online version of the classic Monopoly board game that incorporates Google Maps as its game board. "It's definitely a way to learn about real estate cash flow and investment," said Nick Roman, a Realtor with Melbourne, Fla.-based Tropical Realty of Suntree. On Sept. 9, the day the game launched, about 1.7 million people worldwide attempted to log on and play, which led to server delays and the eventual restarting of the game on Sept. 17, said Donetta Allen, Monopoly spokesperson. Of those who logged on, a portion included real estate agents like Roman. "If anything, I thought (the game) would generate a little real estate publicity," said Robert May, a Realtor with Lethbridge Mortgage and Real Estate Info in Alberta, Canada. "I'm surprised they didn't work in real estate adve...