The real world can be a bit of an adventure under normal circumstances, but augmented reality can turn it into a bona fide game. Niantic Labs has already proven that with its line-blurring title Ingress on Android, and iOS gamers can now experience it for themselves.
Through the use of geo-location technology, Ingress turns real world landmarks into in-game Portals that become contested locations between Agents. Both the Enlightened and Resistance factions can now be joined by Android and iOS players who can “struggle for the fate of humanity while exploring and discovering the world around them with their friends.”
Yes, Ingress is a game that actually encourages people to explore the world by getting off their couches and going outside. That’s a bit of a novel concept for video games in general, but par for the course when it comes to augmented reality. It also has natural social elelemens, leading to the following stats for the Android version during the first half of 2014:
- More than 12,300 Agents gathered in 65 cities for Ingress live events coordinated by Niantic Labs.
- Players walked, ran and biked more than 74,000 miles during events — the equivalent of three-plus trips around the globe.
- Agents performed more than 22 million in-gam actions while visiting Portals disguised as real-world landmarks, architecture and artwork.
There’s even an online weekly news show called Ingress Report that keeps players in the loop on everything going on. There’s a line here about how deep the rabbit hole goes that is coming to mind, but I stole that from a movie. You can see for yourself by downloading Ingress for free on iOS or Android.