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By 16 November 2012 | Categories: news

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Google has officially dipped its far-reaching hand into alternate reality games, launching Ingress in conjunction with Niantic Labs.

The alternate reality game (ARG) is apparently inspired by JJ Abrams (who first won our hearts with Alias and then almost – but not quite Lost it with Fringe) and thus reeks with mystery, answers that only lead to more questions and an alluring and complicated premise.

The game, which is played out globally in the physical world, enables one to participate in a story that deals with a mysterious energy unearthed in Europe that scientists believe is influencing the way people think. Players choose to take sides with either The Enlightened or The Resistance, who embrace or resist the impact of this energy and its power respectively.    

Think appy thoughts

Essential to the game is the freely available mobile app, which is now on Google Play and which will apparently be made available on Apple’s App store in due course. With this loaded on their device of choice, players will be able to collect Exotic Matter (XM) from real world locations.

This becomes central to stealing, possessing or strengthening “portals” which can be found at designated public points, such as libraries, galleries and museums. The game will apparently run for 18 months before reaching some kind of conclusion.

The only caveat is that the game is currently in an invite only beta stage. At this point, those interested can sign up and wait to be notified of whether they have been approved to play here.   

To the point

Admittedly, it sounds tantalisingly obtuse and nebulous, and we have been watching Google’s move into augmented reality (via its Project Glass) for quite some time.

Whether an augmented reality game will find worldwide appeal though, is the biggest unanswered question at this point, as ARG’s have tended towards attracting a niche audience to date.   

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