Niantic has been hyping up Ingress Prime for quite a while now, and the game is finally here. It comes as an update to the original Ingress client, and brings a ton of new features and UI updates, along with some entirely new gameplay. As a caveat, some features from the old client, such as submitting new terminals to the dev team to add to the map, are not on board just yet, and will be added at a later date. Ingress Prime, in its current form, is essentially just a revamp of Ingress with some new gameplay concepts added in, but is poised to grow with subsequent updates into a whole new game. It is worth noting that, as with previous Niantic titles, there are some network issues at launch that may make it hard to play. Those who want to just play some Ingress can download a version of the old Ingress client called Scanner [REDACTED], which will only work if you already have an account and did not make that account in Ingress Prime. Finally, there will be an in-game event in Pokemon GO to celebrate this launch, which will feature new avatar items and the ability to catch shiny Pokemon that reflect the factions in Ingress.
Background: This is Ingress on an entirely new scale. There's all sorts of new information at your fingertips in the default scanner screen, and a number of things have been moved around to make the UI more intuitive, though it can be jarring for longtime players. Additionally, for stylistic reasons, some buttons have been blended more with the environment and moved into different positions compared to the old version. The attack button used to ransack enemy portals, for example, is now smack in the middle of the screen. You can still deploy, hack, charge and link when you're at significant spots, but there are a few new options that activate in certain situations, with more coming in future updates. Story-wise, the jump to Ingress Prime represents a new chapter in the fight between The Enlightened and The Resistance. Those coming in from Ingress will keep their old identity and stats, while new players will still only have those two factions to choose from.
Impact: It's tough to say just how significantly the launch of Ingress Prime will affect the Android gaming sphere or even Ingress' own operations, since it's so early on and network issues hamper the game right now. For what it's worth, many commenters on Google Play and YouTube don't seem too happy with some of the UI changes, and are saying that some things are slower than they should be, which may be fixed as the network issues are sorted out. It is worth noting that Ingress Prime may end up being more popular than the original game, due in part to the massive popularity of Pokemon GO. There is also a planned anime, Ingress: The Animation, that should be hitting Netflix soon after this game launch.