Niantic have announced that they would be releasing their new game, NBA All-World, on January 24, 2023. The game, in collaboration with the National Basketball Association of America, looks set to continue Niantic’s catalogue of AR games and put a basketball twist on their augmented reality, geolocation games. Titles which include the hugely successful Pokemon Go, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Pikmin Bloom.
One of our first glimpses of the game and how it will function came as part of a recent Twitter promotional video. Showcasing a Pokemon Go style format where players explore their local neighbourhood in order to find and challenge others. By beating their opponents, or ‘players’ found in real-life locations, they can then recruit them to their team. Pre-registration is currently open for iOS and Android on the NBA All-World website.
All-World, no hoops
Niantic are arguably a victim of their own success, as Pokemon Go was their most successful release and itself sparked a wave of AR games. None of which managed to touch the levels of success attained by Pokemon Go. It was perhaps a lighting in the bottle moment with the right partnership at the right time. Now, the latest collaboration they have in store is with the NBA, and it has some interesting twists on the formula.
For one, it’s that certain functions in-game are tied to real-life locations. Not just places, but their real-life functions too. The examples of in-game aspects given include visiting banks for 'cash', grocery stores for 'energy drinks' and sneaker stores for 'shoes'. As we reported on the initial announcement it certainly is clear that Niantic wants to strongly push the basketball metaverse focus of this game, by having players compete at real-life courts, which may be a risky move for countries without the sport being a staple.
The gameplay itself, that we can see in the promotional video, looks deceptively similar to Pokemon Go. With player avatars moving around a real-world map in a way that may seem a bit too similar for players of Niantic’s other AR games. Whether or not the possible twists on the formula come to pass, or if Niantic are simply putting a new spin on their flagship style of games, we’ll have to wait to see how the game is received come January.