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NBA All-World, Niantic’s next AR game, is available now

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

If you have played any of Niantic’s games before, many 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 give them new gear. Niantic says Drop Zones will often be placed near real-world counterparts, so players can find money near a bank or shoes near a shoe store.

There will also be Player Encounters where they can face off against current NBA athletes. Niantic tells Digital Trends that classic athletes aren’t currently in the game, but feels the idea “is a good one.”

In Player Encounters, users face athletes in one of four mini-games: 3-Point Shootout, Beat the Clock, Around the World, and First-to-Five. While they have some impressive and realistic animations for a mobile game, Niantic says that these mini-games only use simple swipe controls because the studio wanted to make something that’s easy to play while someone is walking around their neighborhood. If a user wins a player encounter, they can recruit that athlete to their team, customize them with items found at Drop Zones, and upgrade them by playing with them. Players can also challenge players they have already recruited again to earn more currency.

The title also includes “Rule the Court” neighborhood leaderboards, many of which are located on real-world basketball courts where players can compete for the highest score. There are currently no player-versus-player elements in it NBA All-World, although Niantic understands that players like competitive modes in their sports games and may add them in the future. In fact, many features are still in the pipeline for post-launch updates, including Niantic’s trademark AR support. Early in the second quarter of 2023, Niantic plans to add AR support to NBA All-World to enhance loot drops from Drop Zones to appear like they are happening in the real world.

One thing that will joining the game at launch are microtransactions that Niantic says will be similar to those available in its other games, allowing players to boost their athletes’ stats with offense, 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 Bloom. However, the studio seems convinced that basketball has the global mass appeal to do NBA All-World another huge hit for the company. The early footage we saw of the game leaves us optimistic NBA All-Worlds prospects, but we’ll ultimately have to wait and see if the game will make it past its rookie season.

NBA All-World is available now for iOS and Android.

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