Alternate universe: Google launches Ingress game

19.11.2012 Google : Ingress : Foursquare

International – Google has launched Ingress, an alternate reality game that uses smartphone GPS to engage players in an elaborate team-based journey through physical cityscapes.

Currently in beta testing, the game is the latest product from Google’s Niantic Labs. Ingress prompts players to choose between two teams, either The Enlightened or The Resistance, and engage in a battle for control of a mysterious energy.

Moving through the real world, players power their journeys with ‘exotic material’, or XM, which shows up on the map-based smartphone interface as glowing blue orbs. Once they reach designated portals players can ‘hack’ them, an action somewhat like a check-in on Foursquare.

Ingress compels players to physically visit locations, which only a few other games before it have done. Some critics have wondered whether, as the game grows, marketers might pay to drive players toward ‘portals’ that turn out to be stores or branded events.

For more about gaming futures, read our Ubiquitous Gaming Culture macrotrend.

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