As a child, did you dream of taking over the world? Now it is possible. All you need is a smartphone, internet and participation in the online game Ingress from Google. Its goal is world domination.
They freeze in front of fountains, monuments and bus stops. Their eyes are feverishly fixed on smartphone screens. A minute passes, a second, ten Sometimes – almost an hour, as they leave the won positions and purposefully go on.
This is a typical behavior of Ingress players (from English – login, access), games with “augmented reality”. They move in the real world, finding their way in the virtual with the help of smartphones and performing various tasks.
It’s simple: two teams compete for certain regions. This requires portals. Usually these are sights or just famous places in big cities, a little less – in rural areas. Players fight for portals virtually, battles take place in smartphones. This requires energy that can only be gained through real movement. Therefore, players, holding the phones in their hands, run around the blocks to accumulate the required number of energy labels by a certain time.
A way to lose weight and get acquainted
Ingress released in November 2012, the “daughter” of Google – Niantic. In the first six months alone, the game “attracted” about 500 thousand users worldwide.
If Ingress seems familiar to you, don’t be surprised. The inventor of this mobile application, John Hanke, previously worked on the Google Maps service and developed software for Google Earth. “I was trying to create a game that would pull people out and lift children off the couches,” Hanke said in an interview with Futurezone magazine. He describes his creation as “a mixture of geocaching – a tourist game where hidden” treasures “are searched with the help of GPS navigation and science fiction without quad bike games .”
To reach the highest level, ie to capture most of the portals, participants must run well. For example, in Berlin you can find about 1,000 portals. To get them, you have to walk or bike up to hundreds of kilometers. In rural areas, the game is even more sporty, because there the distances between the portals are greater.
“Dependence” on Ingress can occur after the first time. “Someone goes for a walk with their dog, and I go for a walk with a smartphone,” says Manfred Krejcik, who in many months has risen to the highest level of play in Vienna and lost ten kilograms. Through it I met many interesting people,” says the man.
The game unites us
Without the gaming community, Ingress will not achieve anything. Players help each other – both virtually and real. It’s not just that you will be charged for charging a cell phone that has suddenly run out of power. Users often gather to chat.
In private meetings, they share experiences and form alliances. If an experienced player helps a beginner, he can score points faster and rise in the hierarchy. Some situations require the cooperation of players of the same level. And if in the beginning at meetings it was possible to see mainly IT experts and computer freaks, now in Ingress wider and wider circles play.
Data protection? No, I haven’t heard
Then Google very quickly “gets acquainted” with a new user. Players leave so much information about their movements that finding out where they live or how they get to work is not a problem. Over and over again, it becomes known that illegal programs are used to monitor “enemy” players and teams.
Commenting on this problem, product marketing manager Anne Boytenmüller emphasizes that without the use of GPS navigation to play Ingress simply will not work. Google prohibits the use of surveillance programs, and those caught hot must “be aware that their gaming profiles will be shut down.” But “hackers” are not deterred.
How will Google make money on this ?
Until now, you could play Ingress only from smartphones running the Android operating system. But from 2014, a free mobile application will be available for iOS, which created the iPhone. Why Google spent time and money on development, the concern has not yet commented. Although some Ingress portals already have sponsors. Yes, the mobile operator Vodafone has made portals from several of its stores.
Reviewers are also debating whether Ingress will be able to revive the restrained interest in the expected novelty of Google Glass – digital glasses. They are also based on the Android operating system. Digital glasses are a perfect match for this game. But now they are not developed enough and have not gone on sale.
Despite the criticism and suspicion, the online game became a hit. If before it was possible to join it only at the invitation of one of the experienced players, then from the end of October access is free for everyone. Ingress’s first birthday parties are planned in many major European cities.
Google has long been credited with wanting to take over the world. Thanks to Ingress, the daughter of the Internet giant Niantic has successfully taken the first step. After all, this game is about nothing more than control over the entire planet. What the winners will seek – good or evil – neither Ingress nor the real world can predict yet.