I’ve personally spent a good amount of time playing Google’s augmented reality game Ingress. One thing I really like about it is that the virtual portals in the game are based around real world public art rather than commercial locations, but I’m no dummy. I know cash rules everything around me. It was only a matter of time before the game started integrating visits to stores, and it seems that time is now. Ingress has paired up with Duane Reade and is offering players in-game rewards for in-store visits.
The move is one intended to keep the game both free and profitable without having to resort to banner ads, or selling items in the game itself. Despite it’s GPS-based nature, the game will require players to scan a code inside the store itself, rather than just checking in based on their location. That’s no doubt meant to encourage players to go in and buy something instead of just walking up to the door, checking in, and going about their business of hacking energy portals and destroying their enemies.
Generally speaking, I think a lot of people are turned off by the commercialization of things, but given the choice between having to suffer through in-game ads, or just popping into a Duane Reade (according to Google Maps, there are 10 between the office and my PATH station) and scan something, I choose the latter.
We can probably expect to see a lot more of these deals in the future. Zipcar and Jamba Juice already have deals with Google for Ingress integration.
- Here’s my review of Ingress
- And our first look at the game trailer
- Augmented reality makes this TARDIS model bigger on the inside
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