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Brief Published: 20 Nov 2012

Google’s Ingress Alternate Reality Game


Internet giant Google has launched a free mobile alternate reality game for Android devices that invites players to interact with both physical and digital worlds through augmented reality, called Ingress.

The game’s premise is to unearth the mystery of an unknown energy source discovered by a team of European scientists. Players travel on missions in the real world to hidden virtual portals found at public locations such as art galleries, libraries and other accessible spaces to pick up resources. Players can assign themselves to two teams – The Enlightened or The Resistance. They can join other global players on similar quests, mirroring the gameplay of hit online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

The game is currently invite-only, which suggests that Google wants experienced game players to show off its digital and augmented reality platforms – which it intends to sell on to developers to create their own projects.

For brands, the advertising potential here is immense, as the team behind Ingress incorporates physical store locations and products in the game. Deals have already been struck with Jamba Juice and Zipcar in the US, among many others.

From a consumer-engagement point of view, this is also an exciting new example of how transmedia can be employed to generate buzz around a new campaign or project. See our Transmedia report for more on this, and check out our collection of augmented reality reports for how to best use this technology in all commercial sectors.

Google Ingress