Google Is Working on Ingress for iOS, but It Won’t Be Ready Until 2014
Ingress product manager Brandon Badger confirmed the iOS plans in an interview yesterday with AllThingsD. The game launched into closed beta last November, and so far has racked up about one million activations, with hundreds of thousands of active players every month on Android phones.
Badger couldn’t say for sure when in 2014 the iOS version of Ingress would be available.
The game pits players around the world against one another as two teams, The Enlightened and The Resistance; players uncover clues about some mysterious new technology (a live story with new clues from Google every week) and claim local landmarks in the real world for their chosen side. Ingress players score points for their teams by exploring meatspace and collaborating with total strangers, both online and off.
A cursory Web search turns up an unauthorized iOS port of Ingress, but its creators warn: “Use at your own risk, a banning may result for using a 3rd party app.”
An official version of Ingress for iOS makes sense in the context of Google’s broader app strategy. As Walt Mossberg wrote earlier this year, “Google, Microsoft and Amazon are primarily software and services companies [... and] the Apple market is too big to ignore, even for its direct competitors.” Hence all the snazzy and full-featured iOS versions of the Gmail, SmartGlass and Kindle apps.
Badger added that Niantic Labs, the autonomous startup within Google that is responsible for both Ingress and Field Trip, wants to use what it has learned about location-based gaming from Ingress to build out a platform for outside developers of location-based games. Currently, Niantic’s devs are the only ones with access to a special version of Google’s local data, which allows them, for example, to feed Ingress players a custom map of local landmarks that looks more like something out of “The Matrix” than Google Maps.
A new “season” of the Ingress story, called 13Magnus begins today, with live-play events for the game’s faithful planned for 38 cities around the world over the next nine weeks. In the U.S., the season kicks off today in San Jose and Los Angeles, and finishes in San Francisco on Dec. 14.