How would you like to win a $200,000 mortgage pay off or $100,000 cash? That's the grand prize in Race 4 My Place, a new social city building game that trades real-money microtransactions for an even more annoying revenue model—mandatory advertising.
PopRox Entertainment's Race 4 My Place seems like a wonderful idea. It's a Facebook game where you create your own town. You create businesses, factories to stock those businesses, homes for the workers in those factories and businesses. There are goals to achieve and prizes to be won, and should you complete all the goals within the allotted time (113 days left!) you're eligible for a shot at the grand prize. You never have to pay a single cent to play. You just have to watch a lot of advertisements.
I have watched the same ad for T-Mobile prepaid mobile phones at least a dozen times since I started playing Race 4 My Place earlier this afternoon. T-Mobile is my cell provider of choice. They've been good to me thus far, but I swear the frequency of these ads are pushing me away, which is not what you want ads to do.
But I have to watch them. I watch ads to refill my energy so I can complete more actions in the game. I watch ads so I can staff my businesses without annoying my friends—though that bothersome game mechanic becomes unavoidable within ten minutes of playing. Only one worker slot can be staffed by a computer-controlled resident. Buildings with two or more spots require you to recruit your friends.
Enterprising Facebook social gamers will form communities of friends in order to burn through Race 4 My Place's goals and queue up for grand prize glory. Along the way they'll have a shot at smaller prizes as well—iPads, airline tickets, movie tickets and gift cards. If you think it's worth the hassle, then by all means go for it. I'll pass.