Shalom Life | September 21, 2015

Google-owned Video Game Turns Concentration Camps into ‘Playable’ Spaces

‘Ingress’ players establish playable zones at concentration camp memorial sites, Google subsidiary receives considerable backlash

By: Jeff Low

Published: July 4th, 2015 in Business » World

Google-owned Video Game Turns Concentration Camps into ‘Playable’ Spaces

Photo: Ingress game


For ‘Ingress,’ it seems, no areas are out of bounds. Recently, players of the game established ‘portals’ at Nazi concentration camp memorial sites such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Sachsenhausen. Günter Morsch, head of the Sachsenhausen Memorial told German magazine Die Zeit, “All of us here are completely appalled. This is most definitely no place for video games.”

‘Ingress’ is an online, location-based, role-playing, augmented reality video game wherein ‘factions’ are set to establish different monuments of cultural significance and historic locations as playable areas or ‘portals’. The factions then battle over the portals using their smartphones in real-life proximity to the historic monuments.

The game was created by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary start-up owned by Google. Niantic Labs has since apologized and the portals found within Memorial sites have been removed. Founder John Hanke said in a statement to The Associated Press:

“After we were made aware that a number of historical markers on the grounds of former concentration camps in Germany had been added, we determined that they did not meet the spirit of our guidelines and began the process of removing them in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. We apologize that this happened.”

Though the narrative and gameplay of ‘Ingress’ seems quite complex, it seems the ethical boundaries of the game have not been so extensively explored.

Read more about controversial Google games here.

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