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Niantic, Inc. has released Operation Portal Recon in a closed beta for its mobile augmented-realty game Ingress as reported by TechCrunch.

Operation Portal Recon is a hub through which players will be able to vote on whether or not specific new portals ought to be included in the game. Participants in the program will be able to vote on multiple factors that comprise the makeup of an Ingress portal such as its name, its picture, or whether or not the portal is a duplicate.

Currently, Operation Portal Recon is only available in Tokyo and San Francisco as a closed beta. Players must be Level 16 – the absolute highest level reachable in the game – in order to participate. Players will be restricted to giving feedback in the area where they play Ingress the most as well as one other area of their choice provided that it’s within the boundaries of the Closed Beta. An algorithm running in the background will weight the opinions of players participating in the Operation Portal Recon closed beta based on how well they are judged to be at ranking portals.

The creation of this feature can be interpreted to be a direct response to the massive backlog of portal submissions that Niantic had been wading through. Ingress stopped accepting new portal submissions in September of 2015. Operation Portal Recon will focus on working its way through the submissions backlog first and foremost.

TechCrunch spoke with Niantic, Inc. CEO John Hanke he indicated that he would like to deploy the feature in Brazil “Sooner rather than later”. Additionally, he had the following to say about what’s coming for Ingress in the future:

“The Ingress team is hard at work imagining what the next version of Ingress is going to be. We’ll have more to talk about there in the coming months… but I’ve seen some really exciting visualizations of how we want to evolve that game. We’re actively working on what will be the next incarnation of Ingress.”

Although it hasn’t been stated outright, the Poké Stop and Pokémon Gym locations in Pokemon GO were based on data originally gathered by Ingress players. It stands to reason that this system may eventually result in more Poké Stops and Pokémon Gyms being added to Niantic, Inc’s more popular augmented reality title at some point.

When was the last time you’ve played Ingress? Do you think that Operation Portal Recon is a good way to handle the portal review process? How do you feel the game compares to Pokemon GO and other mobile augmented reality titles on the market? Let us know in the comments below!


Robert N. Adams

Senior Writer

I've had a controller in my hand since I was 4 and I haven't stopped gaming since. CCGs, Tabletop Games, Pen & Paper RPGs - I've tried a whole bunch of stuff over the years and I'm always looking to try more!