By now, despite its many other projects in the works, you probably know Niantic best for Pokemon Go. The company has tried many times to recapture that same magic, but not quite getting there. Though its latest attempt involves basketball, with a new AR title called NBA All-World.
Naturally, Niantic can’t just have you wandering around and catching human basketball players in this game. Instead, NBA All-World has you going around doing shooting drills in a minigame. Winning these will give players a chance to recruit players instead. These players will then presumably be part of a roster you can field against other players’ teams in a proper basketball game.
As Game Developer reports, Niantic is also including cosmetics into NBA All-World. You can customise characters with “Gear” like sneakers and jerseys, which will also reportedly have stats attached to them. Though from the sound of it, it’s more of a way for other apparel brands to put product placements into the game.
According to the report, NBA All-World is currently in soft-launch, with a proper global launch coming later. This is said to coincide with the 2022-2023 NBA season.
Separately, Bloomberg reports that Niantic is cancelling four other projects that it is working on. This is not including the previously announced, but never fully launched, Catan: World Explorers, which was cancelled last year according to Engadget. The four titles getting canned this time are Transformers: Heavy Metal, Blue Sky, Snowball, and an immersive theatre project called Hamlet, presumably based on the play with the same name.
Currently, Pokemon Go remains the biggest golden goose for Niantic. It has another virtual pet-styled game called Peridot, but it remains to be seen if the company is able to capture the same kind of magic with Pokemon Go, or if it really is the Pokemon brand that is carrying the game.