Ever since Google took the lid off of their Augmented Reality game, Ingress, the big question on the minds of many has been how to get a hold of an in-game code. A new answer to this question, in the form of an enhancement of their existing product placement, lies in a new deal with HINT water.
Getting an Ingress code is harder than it should be, unless you’re Google and you want to continue driving excitement and anticipation for your product. The initial reservation system still occasionally emails a few invite codes out, but for the most part the way you get codes is to get the attention of one of the community moderators. Once you are in the game, there are daily puzzles everywhere that give you codes for additional in-game power-ups. These codes are usually only good for a couple of seconds after they are discovered, due to the volume of users playing the game. Google’s partnership with HINT will now make in-game codes as easy as a walk to the convenience store.
Just like the SMS contests of yesteryear, game invite codes for Ingress will soon be found under the caps of all HINT water flavors. Stores will start receiving their shipments in the first week of March, and the codes will allow the user to choose between Enlightenment or Resistance — the game’s factions — once they are in the game. This isn’t the first time HINT has made a showing in Ingress. The “main character,” for lack of a better term, of the storyline part of Ingress so far is a young woman named Klue. In her videos, Klue is regularly seen with a bottle of HINT in her hands. The bottle cap promotion is the start of HINT being known as the “knowledge elixir” in Ingress, playing on the continued concept that the player is a member of an elite few who know about the war being waged in game. Anyone who drinks the knowledge elixir can see what is really going on, and therefore is compelled to take a side and join the fight.
Ingress enthusiasts have responded well to product placement so far, and Google’s inclusion of Ingress-branded clothing and stickers in their online store recently was incredibly well-received. As a game that focuses on running around your local city for hours on end with your smartphone in hand,Google could certainly do worse than encouraging their users to buy flavored water. HINT has enjoyed a healthy relationship with Google in the past as one of their office beverage choices for the entire company, and will now be an Ingress exclusive for as long as the game is actively being played. While certainly less expensive than a ZipCar or as regional as Duane Reade — both willing participants in the game so far — HINT will increase exposure of the game across the US and will encourage more users to start participating in Google’s “move around” game.