Playing Ingress and Pokemon Go in parallel

People are playing Ingress and Pokemon Go in Parallel. Both games use the same geo-located points and walk the same routes. They have the same places to farm and combat. I started playing Ingress again, but only a few minutes here and there. As I play I see new faces and new people at Ingress portals. They are no longer my age or older. They are much younger, in their teens.

Yesterday as the neighbours were having a party I decided to take advantage of the excuse to go out and play Ingress. I went to the four or five portals in my village. At the village church I saw a youth drive up to it on a scooter, farm via the Pokemon Go layer and then leave. Nothing changed on the Ingress layer. No damaged resonators, no upgrades.

I like that people can play two entirely different games at the same location. I see this as the future of geo-located games. I see this as the next wave. The physical world provides the location and then the layer (or game) provides the user interface, the virtual world we interact with. With imagination more and more layers can be added. This will provide people with choice.

The next step is smartwatches and augmented reality goggles. Those who have played Ingress intensively know where all the portals are so they can put their phone away when walking from point to point. The same is probably true of Pokemon Go players. One person wrote that he uses his smartwatch to farm when walking around. Imagine if Google Glass had come out now. If it had come out now, with the Pokemon Go craze people would buy them.

At the moment to play pokemon Go and Ingress you walk in a position, that given time, will turn us in to hunchbacks. Rather than being from manual work in a field or a coal mine it will be from walking staring at a phone. I write this with a certain sense of humour. The market for Augmented reality goggles is ripe. Device manufacturers should grab this opportunity while it lasts.

What helped make Pokemon Go popular

There are a number of reasons which make Pokemon Go popular. I believe that the Ingress User base plays a key role, that marketing had an effect and that curiousity also played an important role.

Big user base

Ingress has a large and vibrant community of players. These players are so passionate about this game that they are willing to walk 30 or more kilometres a day whilst staring at their phone. They are ready to climb to the peaks of some mountains and brave rain, sleet, snow, high winds, mud, heat and the cold. How many of us have had our fingers go numb as a result of playing ingress after all. That passion for the game was seen by children and Ingress playing parents let their children play. The children found it fun and so when they heard that Pokemon Go was coming out they automatically wanted to use this game.

This adds a second dimension. Parents who enjoy playing Ingress are likely to have more than one mobile phone and more than one data sim. These parents are ready to give a mobile phone and sim card to their children. These children are then likely to play with friends. Yesterday evening when I was with Ingress players they had already switched to Pokemon Go and they kept commenting on the number of children they saw already playing the game.

Remember that we live in a globalised society. Whether you live in France, Belgium, Germany, Australia or the United States you will have heard about Ingress, about Pokemon Go and you will have been curious to try the new game

Curiousity

The beauty of modern society is that we live in a globalised discussion environment where things that capture the imagination are discussed and spread at the speed of light, or at least very close to it. This means that when a game is made available in one country every other country is curious to try it. Curiousity made me download the game. We will see how long the interest lasts.

Marketing

Marketing plays a role to get new members engaged in to the community that already exists. Marketing is now global, not local. When you market to one market the world takes note. Content is geo-blocked but not adverts. Marketing creates the demand. Problem solving satisfies the demand, unofficially.

Dedication

The Ingress community is a tight-knit and dedicated community. The game originated in the US but as Europeans, Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and the international community played this game so they laid down the grown work for the game to be engaging for people everywhere. The more portals are within easy walking distance the more engaged you will be. The more convenient they make the game the more likely you are to play on.

I write this as a person who downloaded Ingress, played for a few minutes two or three years ago and then left it. It was only when A First Saturday was organised in Lausanne and that I saw how many people were in the community that I decided to give more time to the game. We speak about word of mouth and virality via Social Media. The community simply shifted from one game to the next at a global level.

Summary

Ingress by Niantic is a popular game with a close-knit and dedicated community of gamers. These gamers have shared their passion for one game and are now shifting towards Pokemon Go. Using portals as Pokestop has saved Niantic thousands of hours of work. No need to recreate hundreds of points, no need to approve them. Everything except server capacity is ready for this game to become global.

First thoughts on Pokemon Go

My first thoughts on Pokemon Go are that we can level up fast. They have taken all of the Ingress Portals that Ingress players and I have created and turned them in to whatever the locations are called in Pokemon Go. I could research the names and terms but I am not that obsessive. Pokemon geeks can let me know in the comments. Is this why they stopped accepting new portals a year ago, to make porting the data from one server to the next easier?

This morning I walked and went from a beginner to level four and a half. I was able to collect many pokeballs and pokemon creatures. Levelling up is easy. You get 100 points per pokecreature and 500 points for every new creature. You can upgrade or evolve individual creatures as you collect the required resources.

One of my favourite features so far is that you can incubate eggs by walking. So far I have eggs that require 2-5km of walking to spawn. This means that you can go for a hike and keep your phone active. Every two to five kilometres a creature will hatch and you can start incubating the next one. This is a nice feature because it implies that we will not be stuck in a city. Walking in the countryside will have the same effect.

The second pleasant aspect is that although there are “portals” as I would call them as an ingress player creatures also spawn all over the place. This means that as a person who spends a lot of time in the countryside I am free to play in a rural setting. One of the reasons for which I stopped playing Ingress was because of the time it took to farm and the need to spend time in towns. With Pokemon Go these challenges are now neutralised.

According to the Tribune de Genève this game is only available in the US and New Zealand for now. As I am part of an early adopter community in this part of Switzerland we have been able to access and test the game ahead of its official European release. The software still has a few bugs, at least on the Sony Xperia Z5 compact that I use.