We already knew that the hundreds of thousands of people who play Google’s alternate-reality game Ingress every month can get really, really into it.
But at the DICE Summit last week in Las Vegas, Niantic Labs boss John Hanke provided evidence that the game’s religion is growing even more fervent. Niantic is the so-called startup within Google that built Ingress, as well as the learn-about-your-neighborhood app Field Trip.
Ingress assigns players into two teams, the Enlightened and the Resistance, and challenges them to venture out into the real world for what is essentially a massive global game of capture the flag. Players organize online and at in-person meetups, and Niantic Labs supplements the game with a regular stream of “news” about the war taking place in the game’s semi-imaginary world.
Hanke’s entertaining talk, “Adventures on Foot,” was one of many from the conference that showed how the lines between physical and virtual worlds in gaming are blurring.
Ingress is currently Android-only, but an iOS version is planned to be released “soon.” In an interview after his talk, Hanke said he expected the new platform to greatly extend Ingress’ popularity.