To date, we have not seen many games take advantage of a player’s location. The best known example of a game that does is Ingress, made by Google’s Niantic Labs.
CEO of The Tap Lab, Dave Bisceglia, says that there is a lot of unrealized potential for game developers to use iBeacon’s location capabilities to make interesting games. The developers of Tiny Tycoons are using Apple’s iBeacon technology in their game, which is currently being tested internally and not yet available to the public.
iBeacons are devices that contain a Bluetooth 4.0 LE radio that send out send out short-range signals that can communicate with Apple’s iPhone (4S and later) and some newer Android devices. Using Bluetooth LE iBeacons will allow very low power consumption, using very little battery life on the transmitter (the iBeacon) and receiver (your phone). Support for iBeacon technology was added to iOS 7 in September 2013, but we are only starting to see practical uses now.
Up until now, we have only seen practical applications of this Bluetooth LE technology being used in retail environments. In retail environments iBeacons can be used to send people notifications containing coupons, deals, or just information about the product they are standing in front of. Bisceglia shared this video of himself demonstrating how the iBeacon technology is being implemented into Tiny Tycoons.
Another game currently testing Apple’s iBeacon technology it Pkpkt, a game which lets users “pickpocket” another users virtual currency as they walk by each other.
“For it to be really meaningful, it needs to be ubiquitous, or nearly so. We could roll it out at a moment’s notice, but we just need to have enough coverage.”
As more developers discover the capabilities of Apple’s iBeacon technology, we will see a growing amount of interesting games that take advantage of a user’s location.