Google’s ‘Ingress’ Mobile Game Turns Duane Reade Into Your Next Adventure

Google took social gaming to the next level with its Augmented Reality adventure game, “Ingress,” and it recently partnered with Duane Reade to expand its boundaries inside of the pharmacy’s locations throughout New York. In brief, Ingress is a sci-fi AR game for Android handsets where the player collects exotic matter (XM) to be spent at other locations, known as portals – which can be found at accessible public locations like libraries or subway stations – to unlock missions. Now, players can pick up that XM or start new missions in Duane Reade stores. Each Duane Reade location will have a participation sticker outside, alerting gamers that game items are hidden inside. Once gathered, players can scan the asset for one-time use codes or in-game weapons, adding a live-action scavenger hunt aspect to the game. Zipcar and Jamba Juice were already ahead of the NYC-based Pharmacy chain in partnering on Ingress, creating an advertising strategy for Google that’s specifically designed to combat in-game banner ads. The game is currently in closed beta, but when it goes public it has the potential to bring AR to Android users in a very tangible manner.