Launch of Niantic NBA All World, its location-based basketball-themed mobile game, is out on iOS and Android today. Ahead of this release, Digital Trends attended a presentation to learn more about how the AR sports title works.

    If you’ve ever played any of Niantic’s games, many of the elements of NBA All World will feel quite familiar. The mobile game tracks players’ location and encourages them to explore. While doing so, players will find drop zones that will grant them new gear. Niantic says Drop Zones will often be placed near their real-world counterparts, so players can find cash near a bank or shoes near a shoe store.

    There will also be player meetups, where they can compete against current NBA athletes. Niantic tells Digital Trends that classic athletes aren’t currently in the game, but thinks the idea “is a good one.”

    Players go head-to-head 1-on-1 in NBA All-World

    In Player Encounters, users compete against athletes in one of four mini-games: 3-Point Shootout, Beat the Clock, Around the World, and First-to-Five. Although they feature impressive and realistic animations for a mobile game, Niantic says these minigames only use simple swipe controls because the studio wanted to create something easy to play while someone walks around. in his neighborhood. If a user wins a player encounter, they can recruit that athlete to their team, customize them with items found in drop zones, and level them up by playing as them. Players can also re-challenge players they have already recruited to earn more currency.

    The title also includes “Rule the Court” neighborhood leaderboards, many of which are placed on real-world basketball courts, where players can compete for the highest score. Currently there are no player versus player elements in NBA All World, although Niantic understands that gamers love competitive modes in their sports games and may add them in the future. In fact, many features are still in the works for post-launch updates, including Niantic-branded AR support. Early in the second quarter of 2023, Niantic plans to add AR support to NBA All World to improve loot drops from drop zones to look like they happen in the real world.

    One thing that will be to be in-game at launch are microtransactions, which Niantic says will be similar to those available in its other games and will allow players to increase their athlete’s stats with attack, defense, and fitness boosts.

    Despite the undeniable success of Pokemon GoNiantic has never been able to fully replicate its success with games like Harry Potter: Wizards Unite or Pikmin Flower. However, the studio seems confident that basketball has the worldwide mass appeal to make NBA All World another blow to the company. The first images we’ve seen of the game leave us optimistic for NBA All-World’s prospects, but ultimately we’ll have to wait and see if the game makes it past its rookie season.

    NBA All World is now available for iOS and Android.

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