Alternate reality game Ingress opens up to the public tomorrow, and sometime in the future it may open to other developers who want to make their own games using the platform.
When the game opens to all Android users who want to play anyone can download the app and join the quest to control the mysterious substance known as “exotic material” (XM) that’s somehow connected to a group known as the Shapers. Ingress is essentially a control point capture game where players join one side or the other in an epic struggle. The hook of Ingress is that it uses augmented reality to place capture points in the real world thanks to an Android smartphone’s camera.
Players walk around town searching for portals on their phones and using their phones to link those portals to others around town. The game can be quite addicting for some it seems, as the weekly videos describing each week’s missions routinely get 18,000 to 48,000 views. The app was downloaded more than 1 million times already according to The Verge.
And though the game is free, there seems to be a way to monetize it through partnerships. Google-owned Niantic Labs, the creators of the app, already have deals with companies like Duane Reade, Jamba Juice, and Vodaphone to place markers inside their stores.
Niantic Labs say they have enough story to keep Ingress going for over a year. But gamers may not have to rely on Niantic Labs to get their augmented reality game fix. The team plans to put out an API that other developers can use to create their own stories in the Ingress platform. There’s no telling when the APIs will be available, however. For now players will have to be happy with the sci-fi story that Niantic is telling with Ingress.
Are you excited to play Ingress?