Google Niantic Lab’s augmented reality game Ingress has left its almost year-long beta test and has its first major commercial tie-up outside of the United States with Vodafone Germany, but it is one that has drawn the ire of many players.
Vodafone has special Ingress SIMs with extra data allowances for players and special item codes for just having that SIM and more for topping up. However, the amount of in-game items gained using the codes has tipped the balance too far and has made many regular players angry.
The number of high-level items with the code, for instance 50 level 8 resonators (items used to claim “portals”), would take a typical player weeks if not months playing hours and hours a day to amass.
Furthermore the Vodafone codes yield a special weapon called an Ultrastrike, 50 of them per code, that are especially deadly and previously limited to Google’s first commercial tie-up for Motorola users in the US. Even then they were very, very rare items not given out in bulk.
Many players have threatened to quit the game if this pay-to-win policy is not revised while others have said they would gladly switch networks to Vodafone if it is launched in their country.
Agent Mezzo of the Manchester Enlightened faction said that he is already on Vodafone but would switch away if they launched the same promotion in the UK as he expects its already overloaded data network to be overwhelmed and make gameplay impossible.
Agent Dhenri said that while he would hate himself deep down, he would just get another SIM for the items and continue using his current network for the similar reasons.