Monopoly's Extreme Makeover

A new, permanent version of Hasbro's classic board game is installing branded tokens, raising rents big time, and halting railroads

Slide Show >>

Monopoly is getting revamped for the 21st century. Seventy-one years after the hugely popular board made its debut, its familiar Atlantic City boardwalk, railroads, currency, and old-fashioned die-cast tokens are making room for Times Square, airplanes, and enough tie-ins with big popular brands to make even the most brazen Hollywood producer green with envy.

If Monopoly constitutes a reflection of contemporary U.S. culture, here's the world we now live in. Most of the game's famous tokens are reemerging as branded products. They include a Toyota Prius (TM), a New Balance sneaker, McDonald's (MCD) French Fries, a Motorola (MOT) RAZR, and a Starbucks (SBUX) coffee mug. The three nonbranded tokens are a laptop computer, an airplane, and a Labradoodle.


  Among other changes on the board: The old powerful railroads become the nation's busiest airports. Prices have gone up, too: It'll cost $4 million to buy Times Square, opposed to $400 for the old Atlantic City boardwalk.

Manufacturer Hasbro (HAS) is calling this updated game Monopoly: Here & Now. Mark Blecher, senior vice-president of marketing, says Hasbro wasn't paid a single dime for splashing corporate logos all over its game. Instead, he says, the tokens simply represent what Hasbro game designers see as today's "most iconic pop culture items." The five companies were asked if they would participate in the updated game. Who would say no?

According to Blecher, the Monopoly: Here & Now edition will be a permanent product rather than a limited-edition board game such as the movie- and sports-themed versions Hasbro has released. The new version hits store shelves on Sept. 14.

And don't worry, nostalgia buffs, you can still buy the original game with the old-fashioned car and railroad tokens, which will continue to sell, alongside the Here & Now edition.

Click here to take a closer look at Monopoly's new tokens.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.