Image: Niantic, NBA
The urge to collect also dominates in Niantic’s latest AR game “NBA All World”. But this time, players are chasing NBA stars instead of Pokémon.
With Pokémon Go, Niantic landed a big surprise hit for augmented reality in 2016. Since then, even non-players have taken to the streets and parks to find rare cuddly monsters armed with their smartphones. According to analytics firm Sensortower, the AR game generated over $6 billion in revenue from in-app purchases by June 2022.
The company has not been able to replicate that success with other titles. The similarly designed Harry Potter: Wizards Unite was discontinued and the Transformers AR game “Heavy Metal” was even scrapped before release.
NBA All World: Pokémon Go with athletes?
Recently, Niantic laid off about eight percent of its workforce, or about 90 people. Niantic CEO John Hanke internally justified the layoffs with possible coming “economic storms.” The company also discontinued several projects.
One product is apparently not affected by the cuts: Niantic announced the AR game “NBA All World”, which relies on the collecting instinct of sports fans. iOS and Android users slip into the role of today’s NBA stars and fight one-on-one duels against other people from the global ranking. The company writes that the best basketball players in the world are represented.
Niantic has not yet presented the exact gameplay of the augmented reality game. However, it is supposed to revolve around exploring the neighborhood and competing against each other in mini-games to become the “King of the Court”.
If you come from a less basketball-crazy country, don’t worry. In addition to basketball courts, parks, tennis courts and other locations popular with athletes will be used for the gameplay. This was confirmed on the official Twitter presence. Another important element are “drops” of sneakers and equipment, which can be used to show off around the world and boost the performance of your team.
The world as a basketball theme park
Matthew Olson from The Information was present at a press demonstration of the game mechanics. According to his description, players will meet athletes on the map to recruit them. Outfits and boosts for individual team members will also be available for purchase via microtransactions. The game will transform the world into a basketball theme park, Niantics senior producer Marcus Matthews told Olson.
There is no exact date for the soft launch yet, but it should be soon. As is often the case with Niantic, the game will initially be released only in select regions to iron out bugs in the beta. Those interested can register for NBA All World in advance here.
The developers will later inform those who have registered about the launch date in their region. The Twitter account already hinted at a worldwide release, in keeping with the name.
If the summer temperatures have already whetted your appetite for Niantic’s AR games in the fresh air, you might want to give Peridots a try. You can raise the eponymous creatures from baby to adulthood, care for them, play with them, and one day release them – all without any sporting ambitions.