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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Online Monopoly game eliminates Israel

There is an online game called Monopoly City Streets where people apparently claim and trade streets worldwide.

One interesting part of the game, though, makes it very difficult to claim streets in Israel.

Because Israel doesn't exist:There are streets in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt, but Israel (as well as the territories) are a blank slate.

The map data comes from a company called Orion Middle East which shows its coverage area like this:

(The lighter pink areas mean "coming in 2009.")

Israel is apparently not part of what Orion maps, and Monopoly took its Middle East data from Orion, which has offices in Lebanon and the UAE.

Monopoly City Streets FAQ says that the data comes from Google Maps, but Israel is well represented in Google.

At this point it looks like Orion provided the map data and Hasbro took it without looking too carefully. I'm not going to accuse Hasbro of being malicious at this point, but you might want to politely email them or comment on their blog and ask what is going on.

(h/t Daniel)