From a January 27 post on the "Inside Microsoft Research" blog:
“'This game models situations like job interviews, patent races, or competitions,' explains (Thore) Graepel, a principal researcher with the Machine Learning and Perception group at the U.K. lab. 'In all of these cases, people are effectively playing an all-pay auction where everyone loses their bid but only one player gets the reward.'"
The Softies have been focused since last year on building a “Facebook Game Theory Lab,” according to the Research site. The researchers behind it are hoping to capitalize on Facebook’s viral-marketing mechanisms so as to be able to observe a large study base and to analyze better the “playing field” of the social graph. “The artificial ‘lab setting’ of traditional experiments in behavioural game theory is replaced by the natural social habitat of the subjects, their circle of friends,” the Microsoft Research UK page notes.