In NBA version of 'Pokémon Go' you seek basketball pros, not monsters

In a return of augmented reality gaming on smartphones, "NBA All-World" blends your real surroundings with virtual basketball pros. — Photo: Niantic/dpa

NEW YORK: Niantic, the makers of "Pokémon Go", want to recreate their hit augmented reality game for the basketball world in a new mobile game that lets you virtually meet and recruit professionals from North America's basketball league.

Like the wild Pokémon of "Pokémon Go", the basketballers of "NBA All-World" can be seen on superimposed onto the live feed of what your smartphone camera sees, and you can find them when you walk to certain spots in your neighbourhood.

But unlike the Pokémon that you have to catch, these basketball pros need recruiting, and to get the stars onto your team, you need to beat them at a game of hoops. Once you have "acquired" the player, you can train them and use them in competitions.

Essentially we're once again seeing the same formula that made "Pokémon Go" a global phenomenon in 2016, if only briefly. The idea is to bring the world of the NBA back onto neighbourhood streets, Niantic explains.

The developers have set up virtual basketball courts in neighbourhoods around the world where players can compete their way up in leaderboards. For this purpose, more than 100,000 actually existing courts have also been built into the map.

Niantic has so far struggled to repeat the runaway success of "Pokémon Go". A game with characters from the Harry Potter universe was discontinued, while games centred on the board game "Catan" and "Transformers" robots were halted before a wider launch.

Niantic is currently cooperating with Nintendo on a game with figures from the "Pikmin" series and is trying to establish its own digital creatures for the first time with "Peridot". – dpa

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