When Google launched its new worldwide alternative reality game earlier this month, the web lit up with widespread questions. The game, called Ingress, allows users to move through the physical world with their Android devices, collecting pockets of energy in various locations that they can then use to complete virtual quests. It was an interesting idea, but on the surface appeared to not make any significant contributions to the company’s bottom line. Why would Google, which has $217.59 billion market cap, allocate time and resources to a free Android game?
Technology Review called it “augmented reality’s first killer app.” AllThingsD reported that because the game incorporates real stores and businesses into its plotline, it’s a natural next-level venue for advertisers–Zipcar, Jamba Juice and Chrome apparel have already all signs on to host ads on Ingress.