Why do I play Ingress? I asked myself this question more often than I can count when I began playing Ingress during the beta last year. To me Ingress is more than just a game, it has become a part of my life. On my way to Starbucks to get coffee, I have to farm portals for gear on the way and blow up an enemy portal here and there. On my way to class, another portal down and more farming. Now I’m sure this comes off as more of a hindrance to me communicating with, dare I say it, other actual people. However exactly the opposite is true.
Since I have played Ingress, I have met some absolutely amazing people, including a very good friend. It is more than just another game. It brings people together in one easily interactable human experience. Out from behind the now normal screens of our computers and online interaction. Last weekend I went to the final event in a series of missions put on by Niantic called Operation Helios. It was one of the best experiences of my life. When I arrived there were just over 200 people there, however by the time the mission started, there were over 1,000. What’s incredible is that, one event for a simple game brought all those people together.
I’ve noticed lately that Google’s recent products have been all about keeping technology there, but increasing the human interaction without sacrifice. A perfect example of such is their new line of Android Wear smart watches. They provide the convenience of being able to view notifications or change what music you’re listening to without having to take your phone out, unlock it, etc… This allows you to continue to interact with other people and stay connected with less distraction.
As far as Google’s purpose in life for Ingress though, that’s anyone’s guess. We will just have to leave that portion to speculation until we know more. However, considering the trend, I would say that it having something to do with “the human experience” wouldn’t be too far off. Until then, what do you guys think?