In November 2012, Google introduced its Ingress scanner app to the Google Play store. And for almost two years, the central point of interaction for Google’s deeply immersive alternate reality game has been an Android exclusive. That changes today: with the release of Ingress‘s scanner app to the iTunes Store, the world of Ingress has officially rolled out on iOS devices.
The Ingress scanner app asks players to join the green Enlightened or blue Resistance faction in a battle for control over portals tied to real world landmarks. The game has a sizeable player base within the Android community. Over 12,000 players have gathered for the game’s frequent live events in cities across the globe so far in 2014, and the game boasts over 4 million downloads. With the expansion into iOS devices, an influx of new players is likely.
To help ease new players into the game, Ingress is introducing new elements to ease the transition into a deep narrative running beneath the game’s surface, and a community that continues to blossom as they take on increasingly extravagant challenges. The primary conduit for introducing new players to the world of Ingress is a new web series featuring two sisters who signed up to play the game for opposite factions, Ingress Obsessed, complementing the existing Ingress Report videos.
The Ingress Report with Suzanna Moyer has provided weekly updates on news relating to Ingress since early 2013 highlighting key plot advances, live event results, and player-driven initiatives. To help players keep up with the videos, Ingress uploads shares the videos on its YouTube channel, but also pushes them into the game as collectible “Media” items. And while Moyer has been pulled into the game’s narrative from time to time, the channel has attempted to remain an impartial source of news reports on the game.
Ingress Obsessed takes a more humanizing view of the game, following sisters Rebecca and Christina as they learn the nuances of how to play the game and how the game’s factions operate from a beginner’s perspective. The format also allows them to broadcast longer features highlighting local players, like the video highlighting Rebecca’s recent participation in Operation Megaladon, an attempt to link portals in Florida, France, and Brazil. The sisters are also getting pulled into the game’s larger narrative, receiving specialized augmented reality lenses that allow them see the game’s portals without the aid of a scanner app. Like the Ingress Report videos, installments of Ingress Obsessed are making their way to the Ingress YouTube channel and in-app item drops as well.
Ingress‘ long-awaited transition to the iOS platform isn’t the only major update the Niantic Project team have been teasing. Earlier this year, HarperCollins announced a partnership with Google’s Niantic Labs to produce a similar mobile game for Android and iOS devices tied to James Frey’s forthcoming young adult series, Endgame. The first book in the series will be released October 7th: and while Niantic Project’s mobile app is set to launch that same day, many of Endgame‘s characters have started becoming active on social media following a series of meteorite impacts on June 11th, kicking off the narrative. Ingress‘ recent release on iOS devices will likely help inform the development of its Endgame counterpart.
To download Ingress for iOS devices, download the free game from the iTunes Store. Check out prior ARGNet coverage for a closer look at the game’s narrative and live event “Anomalies”. Helios, the newest Anomaly series, will be starting in earnest later this month. The Niantic Project’s Linda Besh will be speaking at ARGFest in Portland on August 1st on making the transition from Ingress player to Niantic Labs team member, followed by a meetup for local players.