Last night, PopRox Entertainment revealed its social citybuilder Race 4 My Place had officially launched on Facebook with Race 4 My Place: Los Angeles.
Although Race 4 My Place is yet another entry into an already overcrowded genre on the Facebook platform, it’s differentiating itself in a major way by offering up cash prizes and real world rewards to players. The other interesting thing about the game is that it’s totally free to play, since requiring users to pay to play a title with cash prizes would turn it into a form of online gambling (which is currently illegal here in the United States).
Race 4 My Place piqued our interest when we spoke to PopRox CEO Mike Gramling at GDC Online in October. When we talked to him, Gramling explained Race 4 My Place would allow users to win things like gift cards, airline flights, movie tickets and iPads, but that there were also significant cash prizes to be had. Cash will come in two forms: weekly and “grand prize” drawings (taking place once every four months). PopRox will pay the weekly winners $1,061 (the average monthly mortgage payment in the United States) and each grand prize will give users the option of a $200,000 mortgage payoff or a $100,000 cash payout. Following each grand prize drawing, the game will unlock a new city for players to start building up.
Social games normally monetize by having users spend money on hard currency, but due to the aforementioned link to online gambling this isn’t a possibility for Race 4 My Place. Instead, the game has players watch video ads in order to do things like recharging energy, acquiring extra goods or hiring people to work at the in-game businesses (though this can also be achieved by inviting friends into the game).
We were able to jump into Race 4 My Place right away, but the game’s official Facebook page notes some users are having issues getting it to launch. Look for our review of the game sometime soon.