Big data geolocation game offers chance to invest without risk

by Alessia Girardin

With more than 3 billion devices being used worldwide, one game creator has come up with a way to put data to a fun new use that could appeal to real estate investors. Reality Games, a UK-based software developer, recently launched a smartphone app called Landlord GO. The game leverages digital “footprints” in an innovative way that makes it something like a combination of two highly successful diversions: Monopoly and Pokemon GO. With the app, players can buy, sell, trade and even collect rent from digital properties set in their actual locations, thanks to GPS data.

Players purchase properties and try to sell them for higher prices, while also collecting rent. To begin, players get $50,000 in game tokens in order to start investing. Once you buy properties, they become exclusively yours, unless you choose to sell them off. But, the catch in buying several properties is to be careful not to go bankrupt. The challenge lies in the realistic economic simulation, requiring players to balance how much they’re buying and selling.

What makes this game realistic is its inclusion of real buildings, property data, prices and other live players also competing to become strategic investors. Landlord GO uses location data about buildings and how real people interact with them to determine relatively accurate building values. The game also seeks to spark bidding wars among players by negotiating the price to buy or sell a property.

The platform features a half a billion real-world properties to make the game as accurate as possible, localized for 50 markets including Houston. If another player visits your property, perhaps to look into whether or not they should invest in it, they pay you rent in the game. And the more visitors your property gets, the higher its value.

“Landlord GO is incredibly accurate, reflecting real-world values of properties using details like distance from the city center and building amenities,” Reality Games noted in a press release. “Whether you’re starting small or have grand visions to own the TC Energy Center in Houston or the Empire State Building in New York City, they’re yours for the taking with Landlord GO.”

Game creators used data from NASA to divide the entire world into 10 billion unique plots, laying their location data on top. Buildings featured in the game include the actual height with the help of image recognition and location data available through artificial intelligence and camera feeds.

The game is designed so that you can grow as a player even if you start small by buying small local corner shops to begin; the key is being strategic about the investment you make. And, when you have an idea of what the next big real estate market will look like, you can easily stake your claim on the app by buying up buildings, charging rent to other players who visit and eventually selling at the top of the market.

For real estate brokers, the ability to use real-world knowledge to virtually buy and sell buildings in their cities could be a distinct draw. “If a new coffee shop is opening in your neighborhood and you think it’s poised to become the next Starbucks, put in a bid for it, and start raking in the rent payments from the crowds lined up outside the door,” the company recommended.

The game can be played for free, though there are in-app purchases, and is available for download in the App Store and on Google Play.

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