November 26, 2012
Google is beta testing a multi-player augmented reality game called Ingress. The beta is invite only and available for Android with an iOS app to be released later. It uses your GPS location, Google mapping technology and your cell phone camera to interact with the game world.
The players can choose between two factions working for or against an unknown “Shaper” force that is trying to enslave mankind. Gameplay consists of following a map to actual physical locations to discover clues, exotic matter and to capture portals. The ultimate goal is to cooperate with other players to liberate the entire world from a takeover.
Google is also planning to integrate location-based advertising into the game. By integrating brand products or store locations they will be able to offer players in-game discounts. This could be through the use of QR codes for a discount on a product or game bonuses by visiting a store location. They currently have Jamba Juice and Zipcar onboard along with a few others.
If they do this right it could be a fun game and an innovative way to market products and drive traffic into stores. It’s still in it’s early stages so we can only wait and see how it develops. Visit http://www.nianticproject.com for more information or to request an invite.