Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to Make a Million Dollars Buying Coke

Why should our understanding of mechanics be limited to a game world?

I was talking with a friend today about mechanics.

A character concept becomes interesting and viable where there are three things:
-A unique gameplay mechanic for the character to resolve around. (Example: Movement, grappling, many spells, powerful spells, healing, AOE DPS, Diplomacy, ect)
-A high chance of success in a dangerous situation (Example: Combat)
-High output for low input. (Everyone gains levels. How much more effective are you each time you level up compared to the next guy?)

So we where talking about mechanics and how it relates to business concepts. We where sitting in a Subway when I looked at my cup. There was code for "A chance to win a lifetime supply of 12" subs" if I entered online. I asked, "I wonder what a lifetime supply is". (Which was translated from my brain asking, "I wonder if it's an at will... or there was a static number of subs to be had... or if there was a cooldown on the sub timer...")

We debated about it, then we got to the viability of "investing" in those cups. Go on eBay or Craigslist or something and purchasing those cups from people. Get the code, enter all of them and get subs for life (or other "great prizes"). We speculated that if we spent a few thousand dollars ($1,000-$3,000) on cups- we could probably win the lifetime supply of subs... or at least one of the "big" prizes that where worth significantly more than the few thousand we put in. (I think one of the prizes was a new car or something.)

That got me thinking.
What if someone made a living that way?
It meet my three criteria...
-Profiting would be "based on a unique gameplay mechanic" ("a relatively non-competitive field"). Who "invests in gimicy prize offers from major companies"? (Not many people is my guess...)
-I don't often save my soda cap or my monopoly ticket from McDonalds when they play it. (Nor did any of my friends) If we buy in bulk, it stand to reason we have a high chance of success.
-Wining things like "a new house" or "a new car" is a LARGE payout for a few thousand dollars. Resale on a new car minus the 1-3,000 dollar investment has to be worth something. Even if you bomb a few times and get nothing other than a fee soda, the investment seems sound. (What you don't have- you resell!) High output for low input.

But is it illegal?
I assume buying 10,000 subway cups directly from Subway (even at full menu price) would SOMEHOW disqualify me.
I'd have to read over the rules for entry to see which ones could be used as profit venues. ("Limit, one entry per person" would negate this possibility)

We talked further on this and we decided the bank probably wouldn't approve a loan for "10,000 bags of skittles" or "14 gallons of Coke".
Still... it would be a novel concept if nothing else.

On the far end of the conversation we decided to talk about "What the hell would you do with 10,00 bags of Skittles". My answer- donate them to the homeless shelter. Hell! Start a charity of your own! (And enlist the hobos to collect coke bottles for you!!!! j/k)

Hay... it has to be less confusing and more profitable than investing in the US Stock Market...

Let me close by saying this:
I don't see life as a game. I see that games mimic life. That's what they are designed to do. If you understand the mechanics, your always at an advantage.

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