Ingress, Google’s augmented reality game

Tue 11 December 2012 13:00, Tamara Yadvichuk

Ingress, Google’s augmented reality game

Have you heard of Ingress? Presented with a mysterious tagline “The world is not what it seems”, this brand-new augmented reality game by Google (yes, Google made a game!) instantly caught the attention of the worldwide online community. 

The game unfolds around a sci-fi mystery which involves a secret kind of energy, called ‘Exotic matter’, which is fought over by two opposing parties spread all over the world. The players can join either of the groups, the Enlightened or the Resistance, in a battle to control this hidden energy, which is said to have mind-control powers, or to protect the unsuspecting civilians from its malevolent influence.


The thing that makes Ingress different from other massively multiplayer games is that the sources of this ‘Exotic matter’, called ‘portals’ are located in the real world – attached to buildings, monuments, statues and all kinds of places of interest, and in order to play you need to find them physically, interacting with the dedicated Android app. Besides that, moving forward in the game will require collaboration with other players, both online and in real life, which takes social gaming to an entirely new level.

According to a beta-tester, ‘Ingress is basically an elaborate king of the hill game, based on controlling territory via teamwork and coordination… Kind of like Foursquare meets World of Warcraft’. Another player says Ingress is currently being played in every major city of the world, including São Paulo, Miami, Barcelona, Moscow, Tokyo, Minsk and many more. 

As you may imagine, advertising possibilities of such game are enormous. The technology which enables augmented reality ads has existed for some time (look at Blippar, for example); what has been missing up to now is a strong driver that would actually convince people to look at the world through their smartphones rather than their own eyes. An engaging worldwide augmented reality game by someone as big as Google could do the trick.

At the moment Ingress is in limited beta-testing stage and only those with an invitation can enter the gameplay (you can request your invite on the official website). Here you can find some tips on how to get an invite, and if you feel that Ingress is something for you, better start following all the related news. What you can do right now is dive into the investigation of the mysterious ‘XM’ at

I requested an invite, of course, but in case Mr. Google doesn’t honor my humble request I’ll be waiting for Ingress to leave the beta and get out into the world. I’ll keep you posted!


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