Ingress is a free to play game from the makers of Pokemon Go and Harry Potter Wizards Unite. It’s their flagship game, their own IP and the one that landed them those other two money makers.
The day to day playing of Ingress will remain free, but attending anomalies on-site or off-site in a recharge room now requires a ticket. That’ll cost $13 ($2 service fees plus taxes).
If you don’t have a ticket, then you can’t win an anomaly badge for your scanner.
Furthermore, on-site attendees must hack at least 13 anomaly portals to quality for the badge. If team tactics mean you’ll be on your bike, or in the car, in other to throw a remote and tactical link then, sorry, no badge for you. Equally, off-site players must either recharge an anomaly portal, decode a code and be confirmed by the local POC. If your team fails to capture a portal you hold a key for, and you spend the event with nothing to do, despite spending money on the ticket, then there’s no badge for you.
Ingress players have concerns about the legal ramifications of making the anomaly portals a paid-for event.
On Reddit, a user called AverageAgent explains how it was hard to describe what an Ingress anomaly was to their home city, but as it was free, it didn’t matter, people could do what they want. Had it been a paid-for event then they would have had to pay $200 for a permit to apply to host the event, $125 per day site fee, $30 for safety and fire inspection, $55 per hour per paramedic (minimum 4) if over 500 attendee, $4 per attendee for garbage, insurance and admin costs.
The final count came to about $6,000.
Some countries put additional requirements in place, such as the provision of water and police approval for any event.
The reaction is not all negative. User cushing noted:
Niantic have made basically no money from ingress compared to the other games, its not unreasonable to charge for events and there isn’t enough ‘serious’ players to keep the game profitable now just from their tiny pool of micro transactions that they offer. At this point Ingress must only be surviving as a passion project, it has one of the most over entitled communities in gaming and there simply isnt enough players anymore.
A point of contention is whether Niantic actually runs anomaly events in the first place. Niantic announces anomaly events and in some locations, but not all, actors playing the game’s everchanging NPCs attend the event.
In every case, though, it’s the players who organise the event. Even in official anomaly sites, it is locals who arrange the location for the after-party, provides merchandise, set up communications and, of course, plan a winning battle strategy.
This blogger has helped organise an anomaly. It’s a lot of work!
These changes come with four weeks until the Umbra anomaly series. Most players will likely have booked flights, car hire and hotel stays already. In fact, the news of paid-for tickets was made by Niantic in the very same post in which they opened Umbra registration.
Mission Days and Field Tests will also become paid-for events and tickets can be purchased from the app.
Got any exciting geeky news or useful RPG tools? Get in touch through the contact form.