Apple's iBeacon Technology Brings New Possibilities for Location-Based Gaming

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's iBeacons have a lot of potential for inclusion in location-based games, according to The Tap Lab CEO Dave Bisceglia, who spoke to Re/code in an interview. Currently, iOS game developers who want to incorporate location into gameplay are limited to determining location via Apple's internal GPS system, which is not designed to deliver precise information, especially indoors.

    iBeacons, on the other hand, are physical Bluetooth low-energy transmitters that are able to provide micro-location information to nearby apps, with an accuracy range of a few feet. For this reason, iBeacons could be incorporated into a whole new category of games that offer multiplayer interactions and other features at specific real-world locations.

    Bisceglia's company, for example, is behind a location-based game called Tiny Tycoons. In the game, the idea is to travel around the world and claim real-world locations, kind of like a cross between a city building game and Foursquare.
    The company is currently testing an internal version of Tiny Tycoons that takes advantage of Apple's iBeacons, which are used within the game to alert people when they enter a building "owned" by another player. For example, in the video below, Bisceglia enters a Starbucks and gets an iBeacon-based alert from Tiny Tycoons providing the name of the player who owns the location and a prompt to purchase it.

    Bluetooth LE, which iBeacon is based on, is also a promising technology for upcoming games. Pkpkt, a game released in mid-December, utilizes Bluetooth LE to let users steal virtual currency from one another in real life, in a futuristic game of tag. Knock, an app released in November, also uses Bluetooth LE in a unique way, allowing the iPhone to unlock a Mac. While iBeacon technology is promising for location-based gaming, Bluetooth LE itself could result in a whole new crop of interactive, multiplayer games and apps.

    Nintendo's handheld 3DS gaming device uses a wireless-based system that is somewhat similar to iBeacons to allow two devices to communicate with one another. It also utilizes hotspots around the world to deliver game information, and iBeacons could work similarly, albeit more simply as they would not require a user to connect to Wi-Fi.

    First introduced during the 2013 Worldwide Developers Conference, iBeacons allow iPhones and iPads to wirelessly communicate with physical beacons via Bluetooth LE, with the beacons able to deliver specific information to apps when a user is nearby.

    iBeacon technology gained some popularity towards the end of 2013 and has been utilized in multiple unique ways. For example, Shopkick and Macy's teamed up to deliver location-based notices when customers passed by products, and Apple has implemented iBeacons in its retail stores to provide product information to browsing customers. A cafe has used iBeacons to deliver free publications, MLB plans to integrate them into stadiums, and most recently, an iBeacon scavenger hunt was held at CES.

    Article Link: Apple's iBeacon Technology Brings New Possibilities for Location-Based Gaming
  2. macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    I get all excited when I see a story about gaming, and then get let down when I see it is iOS gaming.

    I know I'm a gaming snob, but there ought to be a different name for playing games on a phone.
  3. macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2013
    I agree. I think they should always use the qualifier "mobile". I'll Candy Crush with the rest of the world, but I don't consider it gaming.
  4. macrumors 68030

    Mar 4, 2011
    What do you consider it... productivity?

  5. macrumors 65816


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    Definitely not productivity, because casual games eat up plenty of time. I shudder to think about how much time the wife has put into Clumsy Ninja and Singing Monsters, but there is just something qualitatively different about playing a game that requires a video card that cost twice what the rest of the computer did to make it run. :)

    And Apple has introduced many people who were never into "gaming" to games through iOS, but hard core gaming fanatics still have to deal with poorly written drivers and such.
  6. macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2013
    Virtualized social interaction
  7. macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    I would kill for a real life monopoly iBeacon game! Maybe personalize it for the city you live in. Get 4 or 5 of your local friends to play. Designate a local bank building as the "Collect 200" square where you have to visit it once a day to collect your money... I would totally play that!
  8. macrumors 68020

    Cuban Missles

    Dec 6, 2012
    My heart is in Camagüey, the rest in the USA
    Although I get what you are saying, it is also clear we are transitioning from a dedicated gaming consoul to something else. I think there are a few products that try to use your iphone as a controller for a game that is played on your tv through the ATV. That still has a long way to go. But in the fully itegrated icloud world of the future I believe that just like the phone and PDA and browser came together to create the iPhone, there is a merging of gaming and mobile device afoot. Where it ends, I am not sure.
  9. macrumors 68030


    Oct 6, 2008
    So...Pac man, Tetris and pong don't qualify as "gaming" anymore? :cool:
  10. macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2013
    Distraction. Mobile gaming amounts to nothing but a distraction for me. I never set out to play a mobile game. It's always an easy way to kill time while I am waiting to do something. Shopping with the wife - find a bench, sit and yank out the phone. Getting maintenance on my car - yank out the phone. It's never a conscious decision to "go mobile". My PC or my consoles? I actually plan those times like Wed night are CoD/Bioshock/Assasins Creed or Fri I have a Forza tournament. 3rd Sundays are WoW or WoT.

    None of the above is said to disparage mobile gaming. It's just not what I consider "gaming". I'm sure the pedant would point out that gaming is gaming regardless, and they would be technically correct. I consider consoles and PC's gaming. There are PC gamers who feels consoles aren't gaming. To each his own.
  11. macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Like gloming?
  12. macrumors 68030


    Sep 6, 2007
    Hummm…. Phoaming? :D
  13. macrumors 68000


    Oct 1, 2004
    Mountains of Vermont
    "The company is currently testing an internal version of Tiny Tycoons that takes advantage of Apple's iBeacons, which are used within the game to alert people when they enter a building "owned" by another player. For example, in the video below, Bisceglia enters a Starbucks and gets an iBeacon-based alert from Tiny Tycoons providing the name of the player who owns the location and a prompt to purchase it."

    That is bizarre. Someone already really owns that real location. To be buying and selling the virtualization is weird and will raise hackles and lawsuits. I would not like the idea of someone pretending to 'own' my home, land or business like this. Someone's going to get hurt.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2009
    Just watch for the words "Apple" and "Gaming" in the same title. Extra points if the title also includes an "iWord".

    Maybe they should be called iGames, that way you know it's supposed to be a game but it still looks casual ;)
  15. macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2014
    iBeacons suck, just use Mezy

    all o fmy friends use mezy to send a message to a location that your friends cant see until they get there, iBeacons we're built for ads and profits, Mezy was built for fun.
  16. macrumors newbie

    Apr 20, 2008
    I don't understand how this game accesses the iBeacons inside a Starbucks. Do apps have access to iBeacons that they didn't associate specifically with their app? Did Starbucks somehow make their beacons accessible?
  17. macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2014
    I love the possibility of location based gaming, however, I will hate to see people walking into store or coffee shop, and instead of looking at the counter, immediately look to their phone.Though It does serve a purpose for gaming, and huge megamarkets and shoping malls. How about placing ibeacons in some public park, and play a game of eg. finding treasure ? That would be awesome!
  18. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005

    About two million locations world wide.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2007
    So...just never heard about Ingress?

    Yeah...I's evil Android world...but actually it's becoming a lame duck. If you want to, check it out here.
  20. N64, Jan 10, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014

    macrumors regular

    Dec 24, 2013
    Lost Woods
    Darn, I thought this would be about fun games.
  21. macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2011
    And building on top of that... there's got to be some way to also get penalized like getting taxed or going to cyber jail.
  22. macrumors member

    Nov 11, 2013
    Consoul: New favorite fake word. :cool:
  23. macrumors 6502a

    Nov 13, 2013
  24. macrumors G5


    Nov 25, 2005
    Here's the response, from someone who develops software including iOS software for a living, and has read the documentation (CLBeacon and CLBeaconRegion):

    The author of that article is a complete moron, who either hasn't got the slightest idea what iBeacons do, or is deliberately misrepresenting what they do. An iBeacon doesn't do anything at all, except transmitting through low power bluetooth a message that says "this is my company id, this is my major location id, and this is my minor location id". For example, if you want to put iBeacons into every room of your home and your holiday home, you buy a dozen beacons, create a company id for yourself (which is just a long number that you don't tell anyone), program that number into each of your beacons, program the "major location id" 1 for all beacons that go into your home and 2 for all beacons that go into your holiday home, then program a room number as the "minor location id" into each beacon, and then put them where they belong. They just sit there and transmit. They can't receive anything. They can't detect your iPhone. The beacons can do absolutely nothing but transmit these three items of data.

    Now what happens if you set up these beacons (or if some Evil Retail Company puts them in their stores)? Nothing. Nothing at all. First you have to write an app that asks the operating system "please tell me if I'm near any beacon with my company id". You can't write an app that looks for _any_ beacons. It has to specify exactly what beacons. Next, you have to put that app on the app store (if you do it privately, you can put it manually on your iPhones, or a company with a company developer license can put it on all their employees' phones). If it goes on the app store, you have to tell Apple what it does, so you can't sneak this in. So you need your app that watches for your beacons, or you need Evil Retail Company's app installed on your phone.

    Now what happens? Still nothing. The user of the phone has to start the app manually. And only then, when the user has started Evil Retail Company's app, only then can the app register when it is near any of the Evil Retail Company's beacons.

    So what exactly do these people think what evil things iBeacons could be doing? It's absolutely annoying. There are so many _real_ risks to your privacy that you should be aware of, we can really do without idiots who warn about fake and non-existing risks.

    Now anyone quoting my post, you can post "Common sense advocates worry about the complete incompetence of privacy advocates".
  25. macrumors regular


    Jan 31, 2011
    cool, so stop ********ting and release iBeacon already Apple! Oh wait, you'll take three years to release it so it "just works" when it's released. Meanwhile, Android has had the same thing and it works fine.

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