As it stands, location-based games are a cool technology in search of commercial relevance. For all the fun of having 20-30 people running round a city doing stuff to each other with their phones (steady now), nobody's figured out how to make money from it.
That hasn't stopped some developers from trying. Last week's Connecting 07 conference in San Francisco showcased a location-based game called Defenders of Design, which was running on a platform called mscape, created by HP Labs.
The game itself was developed by a firm called The Go Game. It involves players running round San Fran with GPS-equipped iPAQ PDAs, with clues leading them to various cool design studios around the city.
"The mscape platform gives us the ability to integrate customised digital media that we can link to a specific location in our futuristic storyline," says Finnegan Kelly, co-founder at The Go Game.
"We can send fun facts about a design company just as players walk in the door of a studio, or a video containing an important clue before participants approach an undercover actor with a secret password."
Okay, a bunch of design conference attendees playing a GPS game that involves dropping in at fellow designers' studios has the distinct whiff of Nathan Barley about it (those PDAs are well weapon…), but it's at least an interesting glimpse at how the worlds of GPS and gaming are colliding.
On a related note, we'll be running an interview with developer Active Ingredient, who's developed the mscape/GPS-based Heartlands tomorrow
But for now, check out a video of Defenders of Design below: