Niantic makes a real NBA game

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has announced another new game, this time with his first foray into the sports world. It’s called NBA All World and it’s – as you would expect from Niantic – a location-based game that also includes augmented reality elements. The developer describes it as “NBA lifestyle meets the real metaverse.”

You may be wondering how exactly that would work. NBA All World is very similar to Niantic’s other releases, filling the map around you with different points of interest. The difference here is that they are all basketball themed rather than Pokémon related. “We’re enveloping the world around you in a basketball universe, or what I personally like to call turning the real world into a basketball theme park,” explained senior producer Marcus Matthews in a presentation to the press. “Now places and objects in the real world will become video game assets; the convenience store near you has become a location to pick up stamina for your NBA player, the sports store around the corner is the place to pick up the latest branded shoe to customize your players.”

There are a few elements to the overall experience. There’s swipe-based one-on-one basketball, where you can compete against other players on basketball courts on your map, a bit like going to a gym in Pokémon Go. This includes a leaderboard so you can be the best in a given location. You can also collect real NBA players by meeting and beating them on the map – it kinda sounds like the ultimate team feature in FIFA – and customizing them with gear and in-game boosts. Niantic also says the game will feature some location-based story elements related to the birthplaces of NBA stars.

As with the studio’s other releases, one of the game’s goals is to get players active outdoors. “Location matters,” Matthews says. “So what you can’t do is sit at home and play remotely against your friend who is in another city.”

All World is coming to both iOS and Android, and Niantic says it’s expected to be fully rolled out during the next NBA season.

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The announcement comes as Niantic has a surprisingly large number of projects in the works. In addition to existing games like Pokémon Go and Ingress, the developer launched Pikmin Bloom last year, is working on a virtual pet game called Peridot, and also has a Transformers game in development.

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