Ingress product manager Brandon Badger told AllThingsD that the Niantic team is working on porting Ingress to iOS for a release sometime in 2014.
Google has launched many of its products to iOS, but augmented reality game Ingress — which, even though officially still in closed beta, has amassed a passionate following of about one million players — is yet to follow suit, leaving open the question of will they or won't they.
It appears the answer is yes, they will. In an interview with AllThingsD, Niantic Labs product manager Brandon Badger confirmed that the iOS edition of the game is on its way and will be released in 2014, although when in 2014 is yet to be confirmed.
Ingress pits players against each other in two teams, the Enlightened and the Resistance, battling to take over "portals", real-world landmarks turned into in-game territory, in a sort of high-tech, high-stakes capture the flag.
The game is free, but Niantic Labs is a subsidiary Google start-up, which means there's more at play under the hood than users having a good time. Having the GPS turned on means that Google is able to collect real-world data, such as the most-used pedestrian paths: for example, how fast people walk and the locations of free Wi-Fi hotspots. It can even, using the photos users snap to turn into "portals", collect landmark location data. All of this information can be used by Google to improve its mapping applications.
Niantic Labs also wants to use the data to build a platform for other developers to create location-based games.
A port to iOS, therefore, makes a lot of sense. We consider it a bit of a win: more people having fun and better Google maps. Bring it on.