At the annual DICE conference earlier this year, I had a chance to speak to John Hanke, head of Google’s Niantic Labs, about their new title Ingress. To my mind, Ingress might one of the most surprising games around, if only because millions of people play it, but it hardly grabs attention.
Ingress is a mobile game with two competing factions attempting to grab randomly distributed portals around the world. It turns the world into your battlefield as you attempt to claim “portals” and collect resources to fuel your side. Hanke was quick to point out the lengths that players would go to claim portals around the world including one mission involving a helicopter in Siberia. Ingress has it own YouTube channel that adds to the fiction of the world, with videos outlining what’s happening in the faction war.
Now Ingress is coming to iOS which opens up a whole new set of recruits who can pick a side. As Jack Smith points out, it’s a shrewd move. Smartphone usage in urban areas tend to be dominated by iPhones, but I’m just happy to see something that everyone can play across competing systems.