Monopoly is one of the most popular board games in the world. First published 87 years ago, in 1935, this iconic board game is currently available in 114 countries and has reportedly sold over 275 million copies worldwide. Over the years, the game has expanded from its original version and spawned the creation of over 300 different versions.
The game was originally conceived in 1903, but it took over 30 years for the game to gain enough popularity to attract the attention of Parker Brothers, one of the biggest toy and game manufacturers of the 20th century. It was only in 1935 that the company bought the game’s rights and expanded the Monopoly brand. In the years that followed, Monopoly was licensed outside the US and quickly became a sensation in Europe. By the end of the 20th century, the game was already being sold around the world, but Parker Brothers was only issuing two versions, a regular and deluxe. However, that changed when in 1991 Hasbro Gaming bought the game’s rights for $516 million.
Following the acquisition, Hasbro began developing new variations and themed versions, including the introduction of debit cards and other electronic gadgets. In addition, the American conglomerate implemented new initiatives, including online voting, which allowed fans of the game to decide which landmark properties would feature in each country’s version.
Early Video Games
However, that’s not everything Hasbro did. The giant continued and further explored a crossover started in 1985 by Parker Brothers when the first Monopoly multi-platform video game was published. By the time Hasbro took over, Monopoly had already inspired two video games compatible with the Commodore 64, Sega Master System, Amstrad CPC, and Amiga, among others. It is striking how in the late 1980s, Parker Brothers was already anticipating the importance of video games for the ages to come. This strategy was continued and particularly reinforced by Hasbro in the 1990s, with the company greenlighting the creation of 10 different video game adaptations.
In recent years, digital adaptations of traditional games have become extremely common, with games such as Clue, Ticket to Ride, and Catan spawning their own online versions. Many developers have even gone one step further by developing live versions of classic games that can be played in real-time against friends, family, or just random opponents. Some of these games include chess, dominos, checkers, and scrabble, but also traditional casino games, such as poker, roulette, and baccarat. The gambling industry has taken a particular interest in these types of games, with online casino platforms offering a large range of live games which are streamed from professional studio sets featuring real dealers. Users interested in checking out live casino Canada can even access guides on the best offers available in the market. These guides include info on the best live games featured on some of the most popular gambling platforms. One of the key features of many of these games is the chat option, which allows players to interact with each other and with dealers. In fact, this was one of the biggest flaws of Monopoly Plus, the popular online game released in 2014, which didn’t allow players to interact while playing.
Console and Smartphone Versions
In the 21st century, Hasbro continued to expand Monopoly, publishing innovative versions, such as Monopoly Empire, inspired by popular brands and places; Monopoly Voice Banking, in which players can purchase properties, pay rent, and make building using only their voice; and themed versions inspired by Star Wars, The Legend of Zelda and Game of Thrones, among countless others.
Simultaneously, the publisher also cooperated with several gaming studios to develop video game adaptations compatible with all sorts of devices. The first mobile version of Monopoly was developed by Mobile 21 and was released for Game Boy Advance in 2001. The following year, in 2002, Runecraft published Monopoly Party, the first video game version of the board game compatible with PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. Years later, with the rise of smartphones and social media, Electronic Arts Mobile developed and released the first iPhone Monopoly game in 2009, while Facebook began featuring an in-app Monopoly game designed by Playfish.
Since then, 10 new versions of Monopoly have been released for PlayStation 3 and 4, Xbox 360, Wii, Nintendo DS, PC, iOS, Android, and Nintendo Switch. In addition, it is also possible to play Monopoly on Smart TV using Chromecast. All these versions include different features, allowing users not only to play against friends and bots but also to take on the internet and find more challenging adversaries.
For now, it is clear that Monopoly is still very much part of pop culture and its popularity has been soaring in recent years. This was particularly true in the past two years, with Monopoly sales jumping 21% in 2020 and having its biggest year in sales ever. In addition, it has also been confirmed that Lionsgate is developing a feature film inspired by Monopoly, starring Kevin Hart and directed by Tim Story.