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  • Writer's pictureEugenie Mae

NBA is launching a groundbreaking AR game that merges the digital and physical worlds

Explore, manage and compete against real-world players at basketball courts – and collect items while you're at it!

Niantic, the company behind popular location-based AR games such as Pokémon GO and Pikmin Bloom, just announced the latest addition to its "real-world metaverse," a basketball-themed mobile game called NBA All-World.

Similar to the location-based AR games we all love, NBA All-World will have you exploring the real world as you search for sneakers and gear to collect, play 1-on-1 against NBA pros, and participate in a variety of mini-games. The game also features officially-licensed NBA merchandise, allowing you to deck your in-game avatar out in the latest fashion.

What you can expect from the game is authentic NBA music, merchandise, and footwear. Other cosmetic items can be found at select basketball courts and sporting goods stores. Just like the PokéStops you'd find in Pokémon GO, you'll need to physically travel to these real-world locations in order to access these goodies. For example, a nearby convenience store within the game will become a location you must visit in order to collect stamina for your player, and a sporting goods store will be a place to pick up the latest brand-name footwear to customise your team.

Four pillars support the overall goal of the game. You explore the real world, customise your character, manage a team, and compete with others. While exploring, you can collect items and boosts for your player, compete against real-world players at designated basketball courts, and meet NBA players on the map to play basketball. Customising is self-explanatory as you can design your characters with different looks and clothing, but you also manage a team of players and level them up individually.

Players will need to be physically near other players on a court in order to initiate gameplay. However, Niantic is working on a mode to be able to play against any player within a certain distance. The software development company also has plans to make parks and other notable locations valid play sports for areas that are not dense with courts. Optimistically, the game may have more spots of interest than Pokémon Go in the future as many retail locations and stores will be integrated into the map database.

"Our team at Niantic has been hard at work to forge a new type of sports game, one that blends the real world with 1-on-1 basketball action, collecting, fashion, and more," said Marcus Matthews, Sr. Producer of NBA All-World.

NBA All-World will receive a soft launch in the near future, with the full game to be expected to launch during the 2022-2023 NBA season.

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