SGN, self-described as a “social gaming company”, launched last week its latest iPhone game, Agency Wars, a spy thriller with scenario based missions, some of them taking place in the real world thanks to geolocation. Agency Wars has an in-game economy where agents from the CIA, KGB, MI6, Mossad or MSS can buy precious items, aid other agents and improve their skills when fighting rival agencies.
In Agency Wars, users can participate in special missions that are available in their real-world location, utilizing the iPhones GPS feature. Players are sent to specific addresses to complete these missions. Completing a mission in this fashion awards the user with more money and experience than standard missions. “A "trap" feature is also being added that will be implemented soon”, said a SGN representative. “This allows users to place bombs in real-world locations that harms their enemies when they are near this location.”
A previous release of SGN on the iPhone: “Mafia: Respect and Retaliation” uses the same technology to offer geo-location “jobs”. These are very similar to the geo-location missions in Agency Wars. These jobs require the user to visit a certain address to complete them and they yield higher returns than standard jobs.
“In-the-game-LBS” versus location-based gaming
Those are perfect examples of “in-the-game-LBS”, a trend that is just getting started. While pure play location-based gaming (which takes place 100% outdoor) is still in its infancy, it seems location enters the mobile gaming arena through the back door, pushed by game developers who want to spice up their titles with some location-based features.
Nokia has been talking about location in mobile game for — almost — years, but very little — if nothing at all — has been seen on the Symbian, N-Gage platform. However it seems game developers have found in the iPhone the perfect sandbox to develop innovative location-based gameplay.
However like in each category there is the best and the worst on the iPhone App Store. An interesting example of the worst is the iPhone game created by creative agency 65media for FOX Broadcasting to promote the “Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles” TV series in the United States. In this free mobile game – called Terminator Ambush — the iPhone player goal is to survive within a virtual city while sending its location (manually) and avoiding traps set up by online opponents playing from their PCs. It sounds fun on the paper but with only one screen in the game and without a map displaying your location it is not very addictive. The Appleiphoneapps.com’s editor who reviewed the game is summing up is feeling as follows: “ This is a waste of time, money and space. The hired FOX developers should be ashamed and FOX should spend more than $20 on creating its next horrible iPhone marketing tool. ”