Now it's official. The Niantic Project is simply an alternate reality game, and Google has now revealed this to be a game called Ingress.
Here's the new video:
Here's the official site, where you can request an invite.
The app is in the Google Play store. Here are some screen shots:
All Things D has an interview with John Hanke, the guy who run's Google's Niantic Labs, which created the game (in addition to the Field Trip app launched in September). Here's a snippet from that:
“The concept is something like World of Warcraft, where everyone in world is playing the same game,” Hanke said. Players are on one of two teams: “The Enlightened,” who embrace the power, or “The Resistance,” who fight the power. Anyone can play from anywhere in the world, though in more densely played areas there will be more local competition for resources.
Outdoor physical activity is a big component of this, though driving between locations isn’t banned. “You’re like a rat in a maze on the phone,” Hanke said. Then, back at your computer, you can review the larger area and gameplay.
Interestingly, Hanke revealed in that interview that the game will incorporate advertising by adding real physical stores and products in the game, and that partners include Hint Water, Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel and messenger bags.
Perhaps more interestingly, at some point, Google will make the tools available to developers to create alternate reality-style games like this.