Not being able to cheat takes away most of the fun.
Hark, the final pillar of our old world has fallen and all that is left is chaos. I’m referring of course, to the announcement that Monopoly is going cashless.
The newest version of the game by makers Hasbro features a digital Mr Monopoly with purchases and trades marked by pressing a button on an electronic top hat, rather than using physical cash. Supposedly, it’s meant to prevent cheating, which everyone knows is half the fun anyway (and reflective of how real-world capitalism actually works).
Players can use voice recognition to command the banker when they’re making a move and the game also features ‘lights and sounds.’ Yet it’s receiving backlash from those who think it might be one futuristic move too far.
While social media users were jokingly mourning the passing of their childhoods, financial experts pointed out that this new version of Monopoly could actually have some unprecedented consequences when it came to teaching younger generations about the value of money.
“Removing physical Monopoly money reduces the educational benefit of the game by glossing over the important task of learning to manage and count your money,” said Nicole Strbich, director of financial planning at Buckingham Advisors, speaking to Market Watch.
“Bankruptcy is a lot more painful when you have to reach across the table to hand someone your last dollar,” she added.
Research has shown that we tend to be more reckless with spending when contactless or cards are the medium we’re using to flash the cash. Physically handling money – and watching it deplete – is more effective at conveying the real value of the notes and coins in your little paw, whether you’re trying to teach small children or simply dissuade yourself from splurging on a Zara dress in your lunch break.
Cash use in the UK has dropped significantly. Last year, more than five million people were reported to live a ‘close to cashless’ lifestyle. In 2008, 60% of payments were made with cash. In 2018 it was only 28%.
These changes have been accompanied by warnings that we’re becoming too dependent on digital modes of payment which could leave users high and dry if there’s a fault in the system (see Years and Years’ recent plotline for a glimpse of that terrifying scenario).
Additional scepticism of a totally cashless future stems from those who warn the removal of physical money would hit individuals in debt or living in rural areas, the hardest.
With that in mind, while Monopoly’s latest version might simply seem like a fun new version of an iconic game, perhaps we’ll still hang onto our battered old sets for a little while longer. It might not pay to forget what £1 feels like.