Discover more from The Shortcut
NBA All-World is Pokémon Go for ballers – here's why it could be a slam dunk
Niantic's next big mobile game wants to capture the magic of NBA culture
NBA All-World is essentially a Pokémon Go-style take on basketball and, if fans get behind it, it has the potential to be another slam dunk for the mobile developer.
Much like Pokémon Go, which is clearly the foundation for NBA All-World, the game augments the world around you. Your neighborhood will be transformed into a hub of activity and points of interest, with virtual basketball courts to visit, drop zones containing special items, and leaderboards to compete in.
Instead of a full-blown basketball game experience like you’d find in NBA 2K23, NBA All-World transforms a typical one-on-one match into an accessible minigame, where taps and swipes are all you need to dominate the paint and beat some of the NBA’s best players. Niantic said that the game includes realistic animations and a robust stat and skill system that should keep things interesting.
Winning one-on-one matches isn’t all you need to focus on, though. You’ll need to pound the pavements if you want to recruit the best real-world NBA stars to your team, which you’ll then manage over time.
NBA All-World is free-to-play, but you can expect microtransactions for things like XP boosts, specific gear, and helping to speed up progression.
The Shortcut Skinny: NBA All-World
🏀 NBA All-World is a real-world mobile game that brings the magic of the NBA to your neighborhood
⛹️♂️ By walking around outside, you can encounter real NBA players, recruit them, and try to top the local leaderboards
👟 Players will also be able to find gear like sneakers to customize their team at real-world locations like basketball courts and retail stores
💰 The game is free-to-play but microtransactions are included
The game is hoping to tap into the NBA lifestyle that’s such a hit with the youth of today, and capitalize on the appeal of the NBA in general. I didn’t realize just how popular basketball was – apparently, it’s the number one team sport in the US, and number two globally, just behind soccer. But it’s also the style and culture that resonates with people.
You’ll find recognizable brands such as Puma, Addidas, and Slam in the game, meaning you can express yourself with the hottest sneakers on the market. And if you have a local basketball court nearby, it’s well worth a visit. Niantic said it’s mapped 100,000 courts in the game, and it’s there where players will find the best rewards.
NBA All-World is bound to appeal to players from all over the globe, then, and Niantic hopes it will be accessible for both casual fans as well as those who play basketball religiously.
It’s also the first sports video game that actually asks players to get off the couch and hit the streets, but it remains to be seen if it will encourage more people to shoot some hoops or pick up the sport in general. You can download it from the App Store and Google Play store today.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.