The Origins of Pokemon GO: From Travel Apps To Real World CTF

The Origins of Pokemon GO: From Travel Apps To Real World CTF

Pokemon Go is currently engulfing the world, but it didn’t just pop out of no where. While many will give credit to Nintendo, it’s actually all down to Niantic. Initially a start up under Google, Niantic’s ideas and craft have been around for a fair time now.

Field Trip, a location based application , built the framework for what would come. Its purpose was simple, guide its users to unique things and ‘cool’ places around the area. Niantic followed Field Trip up with their first game named Ingress.


Release in 2013 on Android and 2014 on iOS, Ingress was a augmented reality game which pitched two factions against each other. Players would track down portals within the real world, claiming them for their respective faction. Portals would appear at local businesses, parks and landmarks.

Players could ‘hack’ portals, gaining items in the process. These portals could also be destroyed. There was also a odd levelling process built into the game for added motivation. Portals could have their defences boosted, making it harder for the enemy faction to claim them.

2013-11-10 20_33_22-Ingress Intel Map

The core theme of the game was to work with fellow members of your faction. Players could scan and search of nearby players via the in-app chat options. Twitter, facebook and Google + was also a option.

Ingress should be sounding pretty damn familiar to Pokemon Go players right about now. It formed the core of what Pokemon Go would build on, and in some ways skimp on. Ingress was pretty hard to ‘get’, mostly down to how many elements were at play. Pokemon Go is essentially a stream limed version of Ingress, making it much more accessible.


With the power of the Pokemon brand behind them, Niantic created the next big thing. Pokemon Go has become more than just a mobile game, it’s essentially became a culture. People go out purely to catch Pokemon. Players meet up and interact with each other, connecting through a shared past time. Pokemon Go may use modern technology, but its doing what video games once thrived on, face-to-face social interaction.

So what about Ingress? Well it’s still around. The game’s Youtube channel is still just as active as ever. The excitement around Pokemon Go could lead to a real spike in interest. around Ingress.


Either way, Niantic Labs just became one of the biggest players in the industry.



Sean Halliday

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