What would be your plan to get new players to play the game, and stay playing it?
Similar to this thread, which I like;
Let's say you're doing the "User Acquisition Specialist" job or a similar role for Ingress. What is your plan to get new players recruited for the game, and make sure they remain as daily active users?
One easy thing that jumps to mind is bringing back the recruiter badge… I know it was totally abused or pretty much ignored last time it worked but if there were a way to figure it out…
That's a pretty horrible idea. It was abused as badly as the Eve badge was. I'm sure others remember seeing posts on G+ for the Eve badge featuring pictures of the same phone on WI-FI with three different accounts on it. (yes, it was that bad) Recruiter ran its horrible course. They didn't even give back credit for those who did Eve or those who sent out those coveted Email invites back in 2012-2013.
I did add the caveat that they needed to figure out a better way to do it so it couldn't be abused…
But how would be the way for that to happen? There really isn't a good way to vett agents to ensure they are only actually playing just one account. I mean, just look at pogo...
or pretty much any referral service
I'd like to point out that my unlocked Recruiter is 100% legit.
I think ingress is not a startup anymore, and user acquisition is not a priority.
Perhaps would try cross-play, share mechanics with another game, to introduce other game players to ingress. OPR / wayfarer was good example of that, before portal nominations were added to pogo. To create pokestops, pogo players had to reach level 10 in ingress, and many of them stayed longer.
So, more crossplay (not AR, because just no), maybe spawn more rare green/blue pokemon under field of matching faction, or make portal shields protect pokemon in gym battles as well, etc., something noticeable but not overpowered.
Please look at the first 2 years of Ingress, what it had.
This is what made people excited to start and keep playing Ingress.
Today, we have less than half that.
To encourage new players to take up and stick with the game, a mammoth amount of money and time needs to be spent.
Even a monthly YouTube Ingress Report to return would make a huge difference.
It was self advertising that required not much effort.
Great thread idea, here are some thoughts rolling around in my head.
I would add a more casual way to play which essentially was Foursquare, but user curated with bars/pubs/restaurants added as portals without requiring businesses to pay advertising. You could focus on collecting badges for visting certain places, getting photos of drink menus/prices/receipts similar to how Google Survey Rewards works, and sell that market data to analytics teams. Let businesses additionally pay for other perks like an in-game badge of their logo, specialized mission banners, etc. But the ability to have a portal at every non-fast-food restaurant or bar would be the main idea. Make the more casual play a part of bringing in new people (make it easier than pokemon go, but don't force them to play full ingress if they don't want to).
We need to revamp gear and build requirements in general. Level 8 items should stay the same but become buildable via 4 agents using a shared boost item used at the same time (a 'la pokemon go raid pass system) which only allows a limited amount of uses per week. Without the boost, you'd need to still use 8 agents or flip/flop portals. This would provide some agency for low population areas to farm together again at meetups. Then, add a new tier of XMP power which requires 8 separate recursed agents to place "recursion resonators" or something equivalent on them to make the new tier of gear available. No tricking the system by flipping the portal, just raw 8 agent deployment to get the new stuff. Lock acquisition and use behind recursion, give people a reason to start winding the AP clock
The key is getting four agents together for drinks/food/etc in a location which is much more tenable logistically than 5+ when regarding most restaurant/car/table limitations. For many factions, pulling a group of more than 2-4 people at one time is difficult unless you're in a major city given the player population.
Thought 3 (CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS AHEAD): Ingress seasons
Instead of new player focus, instead engage stagnant agents with Ingress seasons instead of using years as the metric. Season 1, season 2, season 3, etc. Take a look at League of Legends or any competitive ranked PvP video game for examples. E-Sports has a pretty solid way of keeping players engaged, Niantic just isn't doing it quite right.
At the beginning of each season, all agents' get reset to level 1 and no stat medals, forcing some level of regular play to climb back through levels and obtain bronze/silver/gold/onyx action badges for the season(no, each season badge/AP requirements wouldn't be the same as today's long AP/badge grind, it would be balanced out). You can still have all-time badges/levels to track, but these would be secondary and not directly visible in the main page of a player's in-game card.
Season anomalies - There are different tiers of event participation(badges):
Bronze = global objective participation.
Silver = remote recharge rooms/cell-scoring participation.
Gold = in-person participation.
Bonus onyx/recursion style flair borders for any of the bronze/silver/gold medals you earn = Your faction won the anomaly event overall.
GORUCK: Offer cash prizes for teams/individuals competing in GORUCK and provide an additional medal border for their efforts. Use GORUCK as your E-Sports videos on-site at anomalies, defeating physical challenges to provide their digital teammates with bonus intel/benefits. You might be able to rope the fitness crowd into the game by doing this? I believe this was explored as an option during the Osiris series, but we should really be putting anomalies on twitch and other streaming/video platforms to drive social media. Niantic should host both factions in a facility and show both the faction planning/op rooms in a "mission command" type backdrop.
Higher levels of anomaly participation such as recharge/in-person should require an agent acquires both a certain number of season action badges AND/OR (open to debate) a certain number of attended player-based or Niantic-based community events (either in-person or remote) during the season. This would allow a sort of social currency to be developed and constantly replenished. Players hosting successful events regularly should then be rewarded by Niantic when it comes to titles like Vanguard, XM Ambassadors, faction point-of-contacts, free CORE subscriptions, etc. and be given additional consideration/fast-traacking for support tickets related to community problems. This would also help to build a sort of social scoring into each player's personal profile which could be utilized as a sort of vouch system, helping combat spoofing and other sorts of bad actors we all deal with.
Going back to talking strictly about agent stats, I would want to see player cards change in-game. Players could still have some tracking of all-time stats on their own and we would keep an all-time level and recursion status pegged to the existing 40mil AP standard, but agent effort viewed in player profile badges in the game should primarily reflect recent actions, not a blanket all-time tracker. There are quite a few agents out there who max out and then "rest on their laurels", sitting by the fireside controlling chats and talking about how good it was back in the day. When I click on a player card, I want to see this:
Top of agent card: Name, current level, and a small section where they pick a few badges/achievements to feature that are their favorites. Good place for bragging.
Section 1: show the last 3 seasons' worth of medals (bronze/silver/gold/onyx), max level obtained in the seasons, and each season's AP. I should quickly be able to figure out how active a player has been, what stats they get the most of, and if they have gaps in their play history (last 3 seasons). Provide a "see more" button to lookup a player which opens a web link to their profile, which has additional stats for all seasons, all-time stats, more in-depth loadout of stats (maybe like agent-stats?). Let people compare themselves to other players in graphs and standard distribution charts but don't bother putting all this into the game client. This top section would mean you could eliminate or hide the mess of stat tracking at the bottom of our profiles, or maybe make it a separate screen/web only. Maybe lock the advanced statistics tracking lookups to core subscribers only? (Let them pay for the extra database queries!)
Section 2: Bona-fides: Chronological badges of anomaly events followed by chronological badges of special events. Additionally, we should put FS/SS event participation in here in a meaningful way.
Section 3: Bio-card badges: Make it so every bio card is collectable, not retired. Make it so only certain bio cards are available for purchase during certain times of the year, and/or after someone has completed a significant milestone in their player development(all-time badges). It should be financially and logistically tenable for new players to obtain all bio cards in 3 years worth of time-in-grade, without forcing them to shovel out an exorbitant amount of cash. If you want, maybe make it so players who bought older/multiple bio cards of each character could choose which one to display as their primary when their player card is seen by others. Take a look at how League of Legends has playable characters, but each character has customizable skins that look different that players can pick. After a player has collected all of the possible bio cards, allow them to obtain the founder badge... ;)
Section 4: non-bio card badges: Holidays, fun badges, silly badges, etc.
Section 5: Mission badges
I know this last section went on for a bit, but it has been on my mind lately and I understand it would be pretty controversial.
Early years of ingress had the advantage of being a new group which went through the early stages of the group lifecycle:
Early years = Forming
Right now, I'd say we're very much in the "Adjourning" phase. I would say just before Prime released and as COVID shut down communities, we transitioned away from the performing phase to adjourning. How do you go back? You can't, you've got to bring about a conclusion and then form a new group(game) that's different.
allow them to obtain the founder badge... ;)
I liked everything you said until I got to this.
But seriously, please let's do these things...6-7 years ago. Unfortunately I think ingress has fallen below the critical mass of players required (and the level of effort by niantic) to really build the game back up again.
yep, put it in there for comedic effect. You're not wrong about the population requirement. Game mechanics and balance heavily relied on network effects and they weren't tuned to account for rapid declines. Machina was a test to try and simulate some of the missing contributions.
Honestly... Most Pogo players Have no idea what Ingress is! I love the campfire channel and the ability to contact players who may be don't understand the underground/back door ngress channels. 99% of the time I have heard "I downloaded Ingress but I did not understand it" (My response is "me either! I've been playing since 2019 and I learn something new every week!" Most of The Pogo players I have recruited or were already playing love getting gold Pogo gyms. I only started playing Ingress before Pogo players were given Wayfarer privileges. I literally had players tell me they're not going to bother with Ingress because Pogo players will be able to submit in a few months anyways... Which was 100% accurate. But at least I had enough time to be hooked on Ingress by then;. More tutorial information and videos would help! (I'm obsessed with the YouTube. What is Ingress...klue video. If anyone asks me I immediately send them that link!)
New badges and events across all the ways to play Ingress! Some people like glyph hacking, some like micro fieldings some like illuminator fielding. Lots of people literally only log in to recharge portals, APPROVE MORE MISSION DAYS AND LET PLAYERS MAKE MORE MISSIONS!!! I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND WHY THERE'S A LIMIT ON MAKING MISSIONS FOR OTHER PLAYERS TO EXPLORE THEIR COMMUNITY! Missions promote socializing, exercise and exploration!
New badges to earn as always will be a reason to open the game every day. Ingress players having more Wayfarer privileges is a reason why people are still playing Ingress today.. Other than Niantic actually cracking down on spoofers and players cheating with backpacks/third party apps.. having and hosting remote and in person events with possible different badge Increments is probably one of the top ways to keep and earn new players! (Especially if badges counted towards the badge requirements to level up! Like year anniversary badges) Other than offering a third team (I personally suggest teal!) There's way too many players who "retired" because of toxic players in their community 🙄
Events events events !!!
cell/worlwide leaderboard by cycle for every stat would be funnier that just the old MU.
more competition more activity.
Just MU when now it's just finding area without ennemies is boring
The first 2 years of Ingress Second was really hashing out the game to a released status. The game was officially out of beta at the end of December 2013. iOS was summer 2014.
Horrible implementation but an element is right.
Bring back the Referral Codes. They worked well before recruiter, and they'd work well again. Recruiter badge actually damaged the join link functionality.
"Here's a link/QR code to follow, and it'll get you set up with the game, and suggest you join the Enlightened like me."
Since the player provided invites went away, we've lost an easy "guided path" method of having people start the game and pick the team of the person they were with. Some will not remember to get around to it, some will get to the faction choice, panic and either not pick and just stop because they can't remember, or pick the wrong faction and get stuck having to work out how to change again.
The goal for recruiting new players is to ease them into activity. The Tutorial is ok but has some hicups, like tell people that they'll need to leave the house before they start the tutorial. But getting them to install and start the game is still a "Do it yourself" roadblock for many.
Retention of players is the follow on factor then. How do you keep people playing, and traditionally it's always been communities that did that, not Niantic, so they either need to work on lots of new ideas and methods for that, or rebuild the communities with a focus on non-toxic welcoming and inclusive groups that can be easily found by cold-calling new players. Then they need to introduce a reason why players would want to join, like advantages in hack output when in the presence of multiple people etc.
In the end, the number of players will not increase unless many players actively install the game thinking, "I don't know what this game is, but it looks interesting."
Let me give you an interesting example.
Japan is still the region with the largest number of Ingress players.
This is due to various coincidences.
From the beginning of the beta test in 2012 until the beginning of 2014, there were very few people playing Ingress in Japan.
Most initial large starting player numbers were limited to Android application engineers and people who had some association with Google.
The number of people who participated in events in 2013 was about 30.
However, later, around the time of the iOS release, Ingress was introduced on radio and TV shows.
This is where a small upsurge first occurred.
A major turning point came in late 2014 when the number of players grew to a reasonable size.
About 5,000 people attended the Darsana Anomaly in Tokyo in December 2014, and the Resistance was seen to have the upper hand due to the sheer number of people.
However, on the day of the event, at the start of the game, Enlightened embarked on an unprecedented maneuver to cover Hokkaido, China, and Guam with a huge control field of origin.
This was a strategy that aimed for an upset victory even if they were disadvantaged in terms of the number of players, as the rules gave them a bonus of 1.3 times the points for portals located inside the control field.
Enlisted won a dramatic victory, overturning an overwhelming disadvantage in numbers (ENL 30:RES 70).
The huge control field and the battle over it created such a stir at the time that it became a trending topic on Twitter.
Immediately after that, the number of Ingress players grew dramatically in Japan. （I was one of them.)
This was precisely because many people thought, "I don't know what this game is, but it looks interesting.”
And this was the same with Pokémon GO. In Japan, the uproar that occurred in the U.S. and other countries that had launched earlier was reported daily.
Then people installed the game, saying, "I don't really know what it is, but it looks interesting.”
However, an ironic thing happened here.
Immediately after the launch of Pokémon GO, a rumor circulated.
”There is a tool that tells you where you can find many Pokémon.”
Immediately after that rumor was circulated, Ingress began to be installed at a rapid rate.
At the time, people thought that the places where XM floated were where PokeSource was located! It seems to have become "The place where XM floats is the place where PokeSource is located!
Every day, we received notifications of completed training on COMM, which was unparalleled right after the Darsana anomaly.
But that doesn't leave most of them because they don't install it because they think "Ingress looks like a fun game," but because they think "it's a tool for Pokémon GO."
And this then happened to players who started by installing Ingress as a tool to create new Pokéstops.
At the time, they were reluctant to play until A12 or A13.
Later, when they got to A12 and A13, they almost disappeared.
In other words, you have to make people think "I don't know what this game is but it looks interesting" to get more players.
For me to ever recommend this game to anyone else again, niantic is going to have to:
If yall will consider these before blindly bringing new players (except maybe auburn fans) into this game, maybe something will change...
The game is long dead, get off that dead horse. And although... If you want to revive this monster, you need:
1. Сhange the producer to a person who is not indifferent to this project. Brian is indifferent to the quality of game client translations and many other things.
2. Community manager, it is very necessary for our community.
3. Rework the assortment of goods in the store. Add more items to customize your profile. Not ordinary medals, but something more significant.
4. Work on the game play, making it less predictable and monotonous. The idea with the red faction was wonderful, but poorly implemented. Adjust and add it to the game.
5. The plot, it is important to us, make more videos, and be sure to make a clear ideology for the factions.
6. Do more game activities in small towns where there are only 2-3 agents from one faction.
For now, that's all that needs to be done.
But you know, I doubt that someone from the management of the company, or even Brian himself, will read it and draw his own conclusions.
The game became boring and monotonous. The red faction has not become a constant phenomenon in our scanner, and the player base is decreasing more and more every day.
The entire recruiter portion was always messed up because it required knowing a person's email address to send the link when by the time you figure that out, the person could download the app and already be in the agent onboarding. Credit wasn't given if they already made their account - it had to be through the recruiter link and once it reached level 3.
The biggest obstacles for new players are the learning curve and other games. Ingress can be confusing to new players while other games are easy to pick up and play. Every new item that gets added creates yet another new item to learn. Older players can easily pick it up and run with it because they've already figured out the rest. All the add-ons have created a very confusing game. There is no real manual to the game and the training doesn't help much. When the game was basic and there was no other game options out there the game was popular. Now with the competition from other games and a confusing game I'm not really sure what to suggest for new players. Really feels like it's in the declining stage and with no advertising there's little chance for new players.
Promotion has to go back to levels seen four years ago. If I saw full roll ads in the Underground/Subway/Trams there would at least be a question asked.
It's why it needs to be a link or QR code, like PoGo, but again, "credit" was the problem. When we could get people invites that directed them through the process and got them on your team it was far more effective. Credit doesn't matter at that point except for an arbitrary badge that caused more harm than good.
If we are going to promote Ingress, we think that the ads that are skipped over quickly, like the ones currently done for Pokémon GO on Youtube, are too ineffective for the money spent.
It would be a good idea to bring back the Ingress Report, but with a Niantic employee instead of Ione Butler as the reporter.
We should also ask the current Ingress ambassadors to help us with this, both online and onsite.
It would be a good idea to bring back the Ingress Report, but with a Niantic employee instead of Ione Butler as the reporter.
I have a question, what will you show in the trailer? Is there a clear and varied gameplay in our game? No, there is no such thing. What is enlightenment fighting for? What is the resistance fighting for? @NianticBrian explain to us. I can't explain to beginners what the enlightenment agent does after tessellation. So what to write in the advertisement? There are no shapers, the red threat is not a threat at all, why are we fighting?
You're fighting for... Battle beacons! Yay!
Or an employee with an agent who interviews either:
1. Made a huge move ( major field, pass a major milestone etc.)
2. Is an established player in a play area that is getting heavy promotion.
3. Welcome to my box features, where without getting the gory details we get a how a box behaves and how a new tool can change the box.
If Niantic wanted new players and growth they would try to implement a strategy. They aren't doing anything. The game is dying off. Unless you are in a major metropolitan area it's a ghost town for Ingress. Even in large cities it's almost gone. Google made a game that changed mobile gaming and then got out at the peak. Sure there's a few people left but it's rare to see any interest anymore from any new player. Fields stay up for years now because there's no opposition. Maybe the trajectory could be changed but it's like watching a slow motion video of Hindenburg. Not sure when it will finally crash.