August 20, 2022

basketball wins Pokemon Go treatment in NBA All World, the next augmented reality mobile game from Niantic. The developer, the league, and its players association jointly announced that the new title is in development on Tuesday morning.

NBA All World will take familiar gameplay loops to Pokemon Go fans and apply them to basketball, both as a recreational sport and as a way of life. In free play, players will be able to collect star NBA players, upgrade and customize them with items collected from visits to real-world locations, and compete against other players in one-on-one matches in their neighborhood. courts and other places.

“This is where the game and the NBA lifestyle meet the real-world metaverse,” Marcus Matthews, the game’s lead producer, told media during an online briefing Monday. “We wrap the world around you in a basketball universe, or what I like to call turning the real world into a basketball theme park.”

Matthews, a veteran of Sega of America’s sports publishing and early-ever NFL and NBA 2K games, joined Niantic in 2021 to oversee NBA World. Adrienne O’Keeffe, NBA vice president for global partnerships, said the league and Niantic began discussing a collaboration about five years ago, shortly after Pokemon GoThe summer 2016 launch made it a global mainstream phenomenon.

“They came to us around the same time we were thinking about them,” O’Keeffe said. “From our first meeting […] it was clear that we saw where this could lead, and since then we have been working on the game and preparing for this moment.

Matthew said NBA All World will touch on most aspects of the recreational basketball he enjoyed growing up as a sports-obsessed, computer-obsessed kid in Jacksonville, Florida. “We used to walk to the park and I played basketball with my friends, and we were all bragging,” he said. “In NBA All Worldnow you could do the same.

The game will use a database of “hundreds of thousands” of real courts and other basketball locations; players will also find stops at sporting goods stores or convenience stores, Matthews said. Swinging by these might pick up a new pair of virtual shoes for a NBA All World street baller, he says, or supplement their stamina for the next game.

“King of the Court” games, similar to playing and winning clashes in Pokemon Gowill be one-on-one competitions, using swipe-based controls to shoot, block, post, and fake. NBA All WorldChallenges will also include mini-games such as a three-point contest, Matthews said. Real-world NBA players who appear in NBA All World will be recognizable not only by their appearance, but also by their behavior. “Chris Paul will play like Chris Paul, James Harden will have his jumper back in our game,” Matthews said. “Not only are we going to push the boundaries of the AR part of the game, but we’re also going to push the boundaries of the gaming experience.”

In addition to collecting rare or exclusive loot, similar to the limited-time events that players have invaded since Pokemon Gothe start, NBA All World will also implement “location-based map storytelling,” said Glenn Chin, Niantic’s global marketing manager, on the call. For example, the game will point to the field in East Bay, California where Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard grew up working on his game.

“So it’s not just random terrain that you play on,” Matthews added. “We believe that with the diversity of players around the world who now play in the NBA and who have grown up playing in different leagues, different cities, different college towns, there will be a prior context than a traditional mobile or console game can’t do.”

That said, Niantic is clear that it considers NBA All World more like a casual sports video game than a basic gaming experience. The developers want it to appeal to nonchalantly interested fans as well as superfans of the league, which Chin says reaches millions through various channels, from music to sneaker culture.

“Competitive head-to-head, leaderboards, on real courts, will be an anchor of the experience,” Matthews said. “But that won’t be the only experience. I wish someone like my niece, who is in sixth grade and plays on her college team, could have a player like Steph Curry, play with him in our game and customize his player. She may never go up the leaderboards or compete to be a top player, or brag among her friends, but there will be enough depth for her to have a great experience.

NBA All World doesn’t yet have a launch date or release window, but Niantic is taking signups on It will be available on Android and iOS mobile devices.