Posts with «basketball» label

'NBA 2K24' introduces a LeBron era and more updates

Basketball season is fast approaching, and so is a new opportunity to virtually get in on the action: NBA 2K24 New Gen. 2K shared preliminary information about the game in July but has just announced new details about September 8th's NBA 2K24, including adding a LeBron Era. This new mode follows LeBron James' 2010 journey of leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat and leads into the already existing Modern Era. NBA 2K23 also introduced the Magic vs. Bird Era, Jordan Era and Kobe Era to the game. 

Another potentially exciting eras update (if you like being reminded about the passage of time) is an aging feature, which shows the athletes growing older as you play across a person's career. Other new era additions include curated reactions from spectators and journalists, depending on the time period you're in. After a game, you'll also see an article sharing a summary of your match — initially as a newspaper and, as time passes, a social media webpage. 

NBA 2K24 should also reflect aspects of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association and currently in place through the 2029 to 2030 season. These include each NBA team being positionless and shifting the Restricted Free Agent Right of Refusal Period to 24 hours. 

MyNBA online has some updates as well, including a range of roles for you to take on: commissioner, admin, gameplay tuner, time manager, designer, appearance editor or attribute editor. Each position has specific tasks, such as the designer, who can make and change logos, arenas and jerseys. Plus, there's now MyNBA Lite which removes some of the steps typically required for gameplay, such as CBA restrictions and scouting. 

WNBA gameplay also has new features coming on NBA 2K24, such as the ability to start as either a college basketball star or an up-and-comer. There's also "In Pursuit of Greatness," which has you play against rival players to be the best. These games, and those against a veteran of your team or a historic all-star player, allow you to earn badge perks. You can use these rewards to get updated 2K Breakthrough Skins and MyTEAM Jersey Cards. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nba-2k24-introduces-a-lebron-era-and-more-updates-140015258.html?src=rss

‘NBA 2K24’ arrives on September 8th with PS5-Xbox crossplay

2K announced today that NBA 2K24 will arrive on September 8th. The 25th-anniversary installment in the long-running basketball sim adds crossplay between PS5 and Xbox Series X/S — a first for the series — while celebrating one of the league’s greatest all-time shooting guards.

The game focuses heavily on the likeness of Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash in 2020 at age 41. Not only does Bryant appear on the upcoming game’s cover, but 2K added a “Mamba Moments” mode that’s a Kobe-fied version of NBA 2K23’s Jordan Challenge. Similar to the previous installment’s MJ mode, you’ll “recreate some of Kobe’s most captivating performances and progress through his transcendent journey from a young phenom to one of the greatest players of all time,” according to the developer.

NBA 2K24 also adds a new technical feature called ProPlay for current-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles that translates real-world NBA footage into the game engine. It “delivers animations and movements via on-court NBA action for a generational leap in authenticity on PS5 and Xbox Series X|S,” the description reads. 2K says it will tell us more about ProPlay and Mamba Moments “later this summer.”

The title will ship in three variants: the Kobe Bryant Edition (the standard version), the Black Mamba Edition and a 25th Anniversary Edition. The Kobe Bryant Edition will cost $70 for PS5 and Xbox Series X/S and $60 for Switch, PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The Black Mamba Edition adds virtual currency and a long list of digital collectibles for $100. Meanwhile, the $150 25th Anniversary Edition (only available through September 10th) adds everything from the Black Mamba Edition along with a 12-month subscription to NBA League Pass and other in-game collectibles and boosts.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/nba-2k24-arrives-on-september-8th-with-ps5-xbox-crossplay-140046497.html?src=rss

Google upgrades its NBA Pixel Arena app just in time for the playoffs

The NBA’s regular season ends in just a couple of weeks, but Google just surprise-dropped a major overhaul of its popular Pixel Arena feature. The original Pixel Arena was advertised as a virtual space for fans to fully experience the NBA, but there wasn’t much to do other than play trivia and watch 3D shot recaps. The new Pixel Arena, however, is chock-full of activities for the discerning basketball fan, according to an official blog post.

The biggest change is that users can now roam freely around the space, so the emphasis on menu-diving has been reduced in favor of natural exploration. As you roam about the virtual arena, you want to look your best for onlookers, so the avatar creation process has also been significantly overhauled. The updated avatar builder now takes more natural skin tones into consideration, with adherence to the 10-shade Monk Skin Tone (MST) scale.

Google was also not shy about adding new virtual fashion and accessory options, saying there are now over a “trillion style combos inspired by futuristic streetwear and basketball culture.” Of course, each avatar comes with a fake Pixel 7 Pro because brand synergy. Additionally, the highlight clips tool has been updated, allowing users to remix 3D highlights by spotlighting specific viewing angles and the like.

Google and the NBA have added some new mini-games to the roster, though they continue to be trivia-based. Still, the app is loaded with machine learning algorithms that automatically populate new trivia questions based on recent events. For instance, if a player scores a career high, you will likely encounter a relevant question sooner rather than later. All of those modes are available in single-player or multiplayer. If trivia isn’t your bag, try Niantic’s AR streetball app.

Google’s Pixel Arena is part of the official NBA app. Just sign-in with your NBA ID and head to the Discover tab and give it a go. New highlights will continue to be added as the season winds down and the playoffs begin. Despite being a Google offering, Pixel Arena is available for both Android and iOS phones.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-upgrades-its-nba-pixel-arena-app-just-in-time-for-the-playoffs-175600395.html?src=rss

NBA All-World hands-on: Taking basketball video games back to the streets

Niantic has created some of the most popular augmented reality games like Ingress and Pokémon Go. But this week the company is launching a new title called NBA All-World that might be the best application of its location-based tech to date.

For people who have played one of Niantic’s previous titles, NBA All-World features a very familiar formula. After installing the free app (available on Android and iOS), you are given a starter player and from there you can use the in-game map to navigate to real-world locations in order to collect items, earn cash or battle other players. The big twist for NBA All-World is that, instead of visiting random points of interest to battle others, you’ll need to visit real-world basketball courts to earn your spot on local leaderboards. And, of course, there’s a roster of big-name ballers like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George to collect.

That might not sound like a major change, but it results in some very notable differences in how you play the game. The first is that instead of hanging out on random street corners like you often do while raiding in Pokémon Go, the need to go to local courts makes NBA All-World feel more grounded in reality. That’s important because Niantic says there’s actually very little overlap between people who play its other titles and more traditional sports gamers (just 10 percent according to Niantic senior producer Marcus Matthews). And after years of people playing basketball game series like NBA2K (or my personal favorite NBA Street) at home, Niantic sees All-World as one of the first games that encourages players to get off the couch and go back outside.

Because you have to physically go to real courts to take part in battles, NBA All-World feels better connected to the basketball community at large. While I didn’t get to try this out myself prior to launch, it’s not a stretch to imagine people going to a park to play All-World only to hop into a real pickup game. Then, when you sub out, you can go back to challenging leaderboards or playing minigames in NBA All-World on your phone while you catch your breath.

Niantic

As for the game itself, Niantic has also worked to integrate basketball culture into every aspect of the app. This includes partnering with companies like Adidas and Puma (but not Nike just yet) so you can buy virtual clothing or footwear that matches what star ballers wear IRL. Players in game are also modeled after their real-life counterparts, so centers like Domantas Sabonis are better at blocking while smaller guards are faster and better at stealing the ball. And while Niantic is keeping many elements of NBA All-World’s gameplay pretty simplistic (like defense, which is mostly automatic), the ability to move and juke in various directions, step back for a jumper or drive to the basket provides a surprising amount of depth.

I also really appreciate that because Niantic already has tons of info provided by users from its other AR games, NBA All-World is populated with tons of in-game locations and hot spots, from courts to places like banks and stores where you can grab items, energy and more. And when the game goes live this week on January 24th, gameplay won’t just be restricted to the US as NBA All-World is getting a full global launch, which really speaks to the international nature of the sport.

However, at this point it’s important to mention that while I think this might be the best use of Niantic’s location-based gaming tech so far, building a new community and playerbase of gamers is a challenge for any developer. This includes some of the company’s previous stumbles, like its ill-fated Harry Potter AR game which is slated to go dark later this month, or its Catan spinoff, which was discontinued in 2021 before ever seeing an official release. But for those looking to dive deeper into the basketball community, NBA All-World looks to offer the best blend of real life and AR integration yet.

The NBA redesigned its app for the TikTok era

The 2022-23 NBA season is right around the corner and the league is stealing a march on opening night with a redesign of its iOS and Android app. The new version places a lot of focus on vertical videos, which fits right in with the modern age of social media.

For one thing, it rips a page right out of the TikTok playbook with a vertically scrolling For You feed, which will feature real-time highlights from ongoing games. The page will be personalized with the help of Microsoft Azure and Azure AI (Microsoft is the NBA's cloud and AI partner) and feature recommended content that's based on fan preferences.

In addition, the league has integrated its subscription services, NBA League Pass and NBA TV, into the app. It says NBA League Pass members will have access to live streams of out-of-market games with higher video quality and lower streaming latency. Subscribers will be able to watch games with alternate camera angles, check out betting-focused versions of streams and try analytics-driven options. There will be Spanish, Portuguese and Korean commentary feeds too.

Alongside the relaunch of the app, the NBA has lowered the price of League Pass subscriptions for a limited time. The standard package is currently $15 per month or $100 for the season, and $20 per month or $130 for the entire season if you opt for the premium package. The bundle includes access to NBA TV.

Elsewhere on the content front, the app will feature streams from pre- and post-game press conferences and media days, teams' pregame shows for League Pass games and a show centered about NBA culture and lifestyle. There will also be weekly shows focused on highlights and betting. International pre-season games in Japan and Abu Dhabi will stream live on the app as well.

You'll have access to several docuseries, including a seven-episode one called Gold Blooded that focuses on the Golden State Warriors’ run to the 2022 title. The first episode is on the app now. In Pass The Rock, which will debut in late November, you'll gain some insight into the NBA's hottest new stars, on and off the court. There will be archival content too, including documentaries, 500 classic games and every Finals game since 2000.

On top of all that, the league is introducing a free membership program called NBA ID, which can be linked to a NBA League Pass subscription. NBA ID will offer benefits and rewards including original content and material from the league's vault. Members will also gain access to exclusive experiences from NBA partners, ticket deals, prizes from NBA Pick’Em fantasy games and more.

NBA 2K23's Jordan Challenge revival is all about authenticity

In NBA 2K23, 2K Sports is bringing the Jordan Challenge mode from NBA 2K11 back with some serious upgrades. The publisher has revealed more details about the game mode, which features 15 key moments from Michael Jordan’s career. It includes the 1982 NCAA National Championship, the "Flu Game" and (spoiler) Jordan's game-winning shot at the 1998 NBA Finals.

Developer Visual Concepts seems to have gone all out to make the mode (which it rebuilt from scratch) as authentic as possible. “Our team took everything into consideration when constructing this game mode; the arenas, the players, the uniforms, the broadcast, and the play style of the era have been accounted for in an effort to give fans a truly authentic and unique playable Jordan experience,” Visual Concepts VP of NBA development Erick Boenisch said in a statement.

That goes right down to making sure the on-screen graphics were accurate to the era and including filters that try to replicate what it was like to watch these moments (many of which were featured in The Last Dance) on TV in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Each of the challenges has a pre-game interview with someone who was part of that moment, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson. In addition, 2K brought in analyst Mike Fratello to join the commentary team and former Chicago Bulls announcer Ray Clay to make the introductions. Of course, 2K had to make sure The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" was part of the soundtrack too.

Perhaps even more importantly, Visual Concepts sought to match the gameplay to how things were like in the NBA when Jordan was in his pomp. 2K says the mode puts more emphasis on the post and mid-range game and aligning transitions with how they were commonly used in the ‘80s. Certain players, such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, have signature play styles and moves (including Johnson's no-look passes). The action should have an extra layer of physicality, with the Detroit Pistons defense in particular trying to muscle Jordan out of taking shots.

The Jordan Challenge mode will be available on all the many versions of NBA 2K23. PC and current-gen console players will likely get the best experience, if the mode's impressive trailer is anything to judge by.

NBA 2K23's $150 Championship Edition includes a year of NBA League Pass

NBA 2K23 will arrive on September 9th, and it comes with a solid perk for those who plump for the premium $150 Championship Edition. Among other things, the package includes a year of access to NBA League Pass. If you're an avid NBA viewer who plays each year's NBA 2K game, it's actually a solid deal, given that League Pass costs $15 per month.

The Championship Edition will have limited availability and it comes with some in-game extras, including XP boosts, all the bonuses from the other versions and an exclusive Michael Jordan-themed go-kart. Speaking of Jordan, he features on the cover of another higher-end version of the game (he is the sport's most famous number 23, after all). The $100 Michael Jordan Edition comes with 100,000 Virtual Currency, as well as perks that are available in the $80 Digital Deluxe Edition.

2K Sports

All of those editions offer access to the game on both current and previous generations of PlayStation and Xbox consoles. There's also a Standard Edition of NBA 2K23, which costs $60 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC, and $70 on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Devin Booker is the cover star on the standard and digital deluxe versions.

Fans in the US and Canada can purchase a WNBA Edition of NBA 2K23 as well. The Gamestop exclusive version will feature Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird on the cover. And that's not all. A special version of the Standard Edition will be available this fall and it will seemingly highlight the connection between basketball culture and music. More details will be revealed later. In all, there will be six (6) editions of NBA 2K23.

2K Sports

As for what's new in the game itself, the Jordan Challenges from NBA 2K11 are returning. The 10 missions tasked players with replicating some of the most significant moments of Jordan's career, including scoring 69 points in a game. 2K Sports is rebuilding the original challenges from scratch and adding five more, including moments from Jordan's Team USA career. 2K Sports will announce more information about NBA 2K23, including the Jordan Challenges, in August.

Niantic is making an augmented reality basketball game with the NBA

Pokémon Go developer Niantic is creating a new augmented reality mobile game with more big-name partners: the NBA and its players' association. NBA All-World will task you with exploring your neighborhood to find some of the league's stars such as Chris Paul, Steph Curry and James Harden. You can challenge and compete against virtual players in mini-games like three-point contests before recruiting them to your team.

NBA All-World players will be able to deck out their NBA stars in custom apparel. Polygon notes that you can also improve your squad with items you find out in the wild at places such as sporting goods stores and convenience stores. You'll have the chance to battle others in one-on-one matches with swipe-based commands too. These encounters will be available at various locations, including real-life basketball courts.

Following Pokémon Go and Pikmin Bloom, Niantic has a few other games in the works. Transformers: Heavy Metal is in beta, but it's only available in a few countries for now. The same goes for Peridot, a modern AR take on Tamagotchi.

It's not yet clear exactly when Niantic will release NBA All-World, but the game will soon enter a soft launch period. You can sign up for updates if you're interested.

ESPN will air tonight’s Nets and Knicks game with decade-spanning classic graphics

On November 1st, 1946, the Toronto Huskies and New York Knicks played what is now considered the first game in NBA history. With the league celebrating its 75th birthday this season, ESPN hopes to take fans on a trip down memory lane.

When the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks face off today at 7:30PM ET, ESPN2 will air an alternative presentation of the game that will feature graphics from past NBA broadcasts. Fans will get to see the 1960s on ABC, the 1970s and 1980s on CBS and the 1990s on NBC represented during the game, with the graphics changing between quarters.

The broadcast will also feature music from those eras during highlights, as well as before and after commercial breaks. Last but not least, ESPN said an “impressive” list of special guests will take part in the broadcast, including a handful of Hall of Fame players. And if you’re not one for nostalgia, not to worry. You can watch the regular broadcast on ESPN.

ESPN will broadcast NBA action tonight with game-like volumetric video

TV broadcasters are trying all sorts of new tactics to spice up live coverage, including some truly wild things for sports. The NFL made games kid friendly with Nickelodeon-style slime cannons, for example. For tonight's NBA matchup between the Mavericks and Nets, ESPN is trying something with more universal appeal. The network says that for the first time ever, 3D volumetric video will be used for a live full-game broadcast. 

The project is the result of a collaboration between ESPN Edge, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) Technology teams, the NBA and Canon. The experimental setup uses Canon's Free-Viewpoint Video (FVV) system with over 100 data capture cameras positioned around the basketball court. The result is a live sports broadcast merged with multi-dimensional footage — something that looks very much like you're watching a real-life video game. 

While ESPN says this is the first time the technology has been used for a full live production of a sporting event, it has been used before. With their “Netaverse," the Brooklyn Nets — in collaboration with the NBA, Canon and the YES Network — have used the dimensional footage for replay clips and other post-production content. The Nets are also the first team from any of the four major US pro leagues to utilize the system, first capturing game action with it in mid-January. The clips you see here are from early use of the system, but ESPN said it worked with DMED Technology to build on top of what Canon, the NBA, the Nets and YES had done, making several enhancements so it worked better for live games. The still image above doesn't really do this justice, so you really need to see the video clips, even in their early form, to get a real sense of what this looks like.

Six separate feeds are sent to ESPN's control room in Bristol, CT, essentially offering six virtual cameras that are each able to move in three dimensional space to any spot on or around the court. Each feed has a dedicated "camera" operator who controls the view. The alternate broadcast will also have its own production team, as well has dedicated commentators, piping in the natural arena audio from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. ESPN says the broadcast isn't totally reliant on volumetric video as it can integrate traditional cameras, replays and other content into the 3D environment via a rendered version of the jumbotron. 

Last April, ESPN offered an alternate Marvel-themed "Arena of Heroes" broadcast during an NBA game. While that bent more towards the cartoony aspect of video games, tonight's effort is more about showing the action with a immersive dimensional quality. The network says the experiment shows new ways emerging technology can be used to offer something beyond what we're used to seeing on TV, expanding what's possible for production in the future. 

The alternate broadcast will be available on ESPN+ and ESPNEWS when the Mavericks and Nets tip off at 7:30PM ET tonight.