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Google’s augmented reality game Ingress is getting user-made missions

Google’s Ingress augmented reality mobile game has been downloaded by more than 7 million people in the past year. Now those players can create their own missions in the game that other people can enjoy. The launch of these user-generated missions could lead to much more content for Ingress, which is a sci-fi game where two factions battle each other in a fanciful landscape that is layered on the real world. But these missions could also get people walking around cities looking for well-known or little-known landmarks, akin to a scavenger hunt. It’s another feature that could keep the number of players for Ingress growing even though the game is more than a year old.

Google’s alternate reality, multiplayer mobile game Ingress has found a pretty large audience in the last year — more than seven million people have installed it on their Android or iOS phones, up from the four million who were playing as of July, when the iOS app was released. Now, the game is getting its biggest update yet, one that combines the core “Resistance vs. Enlightenment” faction battles with the game’s first foray into user-generated content. Ingress’s new “Missions” feature (rolling out on Android today and coming to iOS soon) lets users put together a virtual field trip that combines the ubiquitous Ingress “portals” with a much wider set of real-world locations. John Hanke, the head of Google’s Niantic Labs, described the new feature as “adding RPG-style quests” to the game. “The world is the game board, you have to go outside to play,” says Hanke. “It’s built around historical sites, works of art, hopefully leading you to interesting things in your community — missions makes this exploration really integral.”

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