I have been experimenting with playing Ingress as part of INF541. Although the game play is very interesting that are worthy of a blog post, I wanted to write about a few things that immediately stuck me about Ingress and started me thinking about whether the game’s accessibility and inclusivity.
Ingress is a location-based, augmented-reality mobile game. The concept is basically that you pick one of two sides and you battle for control of “portals” that are located around your town or city.
To start the game you must login using a google account. Once you have logged in, it will tell you the nearest “portal”.
The game is owned by Google and so requiring a Google sign-in is understandable but it immediately stops people from playing the game if they are in a country where Google is banned (e.g. China) or people who feel uncomfortable with sharing information with Google due to privacy concerns.
The concerns about Google are fairly minor, my major concern with the game is the accessibility of the portals. I live in a fairly major city but my nearest portal is over a kilometer away. Most off the portals around my area are not close to public transport.
I found the following discussion about making Ingress accessible to vision impaired players:
I feel Scott makes a really good point in his post, for a fairly small amount of effort the needs of a diverse range of the community can be included.
As augmented reality games become more popular, they should take in to consideration a broad a range of society as possible in their development. Whether that be people who are concerned with privacy, people who don’t have access to transport or people with a disability.