Google’s Android-only augmented reality game, Ingress, is about to get a lot more interesting for both new and existing users. One year in, the game is finally leaving beta.
It’s been one whole year since Google opened the doors to the first ever global-scale augmented reality game with a private beta. In a year Ingress has seen a million downloads of the Android app, and has spent that time learning and growing the game to make things more interesting. Since the first version there has been an explosion of new portals around the world, as well as an incredible community of factions for both teams that have made the game truly compelling. Google has pulled the beta tag off of the game officially now, making it so anyone can create an account and play.
On top of this change, Ingress players will be faced with a new challenge as the current global event draws to a close. The two factions have been competing in an event codenamed 13MAGNUS over the future of one of the leaders of the Enlightened, Roland Jarvis. This character is what is referred to in-game as an XM entity, and he has been broken into 13 pieces. The final portion of this global event involves characters locating the 13 Jarvis shards in the game and physically moving them from portal to portal across energy links that have been created in the game.
These links connect physical locations in the real world, which will be important for getting the shards to one of two locations in the world. Whether or not Roland Jarvis is assembled again or destroyed is based on how well players all over the globe for both factions are able to work together to push the Jarvis shards along the links created by their factions. It’s the first time that one of the Ingress game events has actually affected the gameplay itself, which is a really significant thing to keep in mind as the final bits of this event progress.
Google has also released a special founder medal, which will be available to all active Ingress players that are above level five when the 13MAGNUS event concludes on December 14th. This makes sure that event players who are signing up right now have time to reach the required level. Despite the maximum level in the game currently being 8, the first few aren’t very difficult to get through as long as you’re in an area with enough portals or have a good supporting community of players nearby.
As far as closed beta games go, and considering how vibrant and alive the community is, it’s hard to consider Ingress anything other than a huge success so far. In a recent conversation with Niantic leader and Google VP John Hanke, he explained that the game itself has grown at a pace that his team never imagined, especially when you look at the groups that have formed within the two factions to better control their local area. It’s a game that gets people out in the world and meeting new people, which is something that doesn’t get said very often about games.
Credit: Russell Holly