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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.

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Game

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.

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Game

‘NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition’ hits Apple Arcade on October 19th

NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition is one of several games that’s bound for in the coming weeks. The follow-up to NBA 2K21, which is also available on Apple’s game subscription service, includes a new mode called The Association. You can become the general manager or head coach of an NBA franchise and put together your own team by scouting rookies, making trades and scooping up free agents while managing the budget.

The game features current NBA rosters and modes including quick match, online multiplayer and Blacktop, a 3v3 street basketball option. In MyCAREER mode, you can create your own player with a custom look, position, jersey number and play style. You can run drills on a custom court to practice and level up your player in the MyCOURT mode. NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition will debut on the same date as the NBA’s 75th season tips off: October 19th.

Elsewhere, a classic iPhone title is coming to Apple Arcade this Friday.  first made waves back in 2011 as a one-button game in which you control a bird that slides down hills and launches into the air. It’s one of those simple-in-concept, great-in-execution games that works so well on a mobile device. It’ll be a solid addition to Apple Arcade.

Looking further ahead, Apple has announced the sequel to tower defense game Kingdom Rush is on the way to the service too. You’ll protect your domain from dragons, human-snaffling plants and other deadly enemies in Kingdom Rush Frontiers TD, which . It’s coming to Apple Arcade soon.

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Game

Candace Parker is NBA 2K’s first female cover athlete

Twenty two years after the debut of , the basketball sim series will feature a woman on the cover of the game . Two-time WNBA MVP and 2016 WNBA Finals MVP Candace Parker features on the front of the WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition of NBA 2K22.

Parker is one of several basketball stars to feature on NBA 2K22 packaging. Luka Dončić is the cover athlete on the standard edition of the game, while the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition features Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition is a GameStop exclusive (Canadians can pick it up from EB Games). It’s a physical edition for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and it features a bundle of seven exclusive in-game WNBA jerseys, including one for Parker. It costs and it will be available on September 10th.

Although it’s taken a long time for 2K to put a female athlete on the cover of an NBA game, it’s a positive step forward for representation. NBA 2K20 was the first 2K game to , and a WNBA version of the MyPlayer career mode .

EA has been in its sports titles over the last several years. It beat 2K to the punch by . EA put women on the cover of a FIFA title . FIFA 2016 was the first edition of the series .

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Game

NBA 2K22 revealed: All the editions and cover athletes

2K Games today announced NBA 2K22, the next installment of the long-running sports franchise. Today’s announcement mostly centered around the NBA players that will grace the covers of NBA 2K22‘s various editions, with more details about the actual game to follow later. For the first time this year, a WNBA player will be on one of the covers of NBA 2K22, but sadly, that edition will see only limited availability.

Most people who follow the NBA 2K series probably won’t be surprised to hear that there will be four different editions of NBA 2K22. The first – the Standard Edition – is also the most straightforward, as it’ll ship with the base game and not a lot else. This edition will run $59.99 on “previous-gen platforms,” which to 2K means PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, while it’ll cost $69.99 on PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Then we have the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle, which will include copies for previous-gen and current-gen Xbox and PlayStation consoles for $79.99. Yes, sadly, it seems that 2K’s plan to charge for cross-generation upgrades has stuck, so the Cross-Gen Bundle is the one you want to buy if you anticipate upgrading to an Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5 before NBA 2K23 arrives sometime next year. Dallas Mavericks player Luka Dončić will be on the cover of both the Standard Edition and the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle.

Then we have the NBA 2K22 NBA 75th Anniversary Edition, which will feature Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant on the cover. The 75th Anniversary Edition will run $99.99 and will be available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC, and Nintendo Switch. It’ll also include a cross-gen upgrade for those playing on PS4 and Xbox One, which we’d expect given its $100 price tag.

Finally, we come to the WNBA 25th Anniversary Special Edition of the game, which will feature Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker on the cover. While it is nice to see 2K Games feature a player from the WNBA on one of the covers of NBA 2K22, the WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition will only be available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in the US and Canada, where it will be exclusively sold by GameStop and EB Games. This edition will cost $69.99 and will come with a WNBA jersey bundle.

So, there you have it: NBA 2K22 will be launching in four various editions later this year. The game is launching on September 10th, so with release only a couple of months away, we’ll definitely be hearing more about the game’s content shortly. Stay tuned for that.

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Game

Fortnite’s first big NBA crossover detailed: Skins, Team Battles, Creative hub

Battle royale game Fortnite has unveiled its first crossover with the NBA, giving basketball fans the opportunity to represent their favorite team in the game, get NBA-themed outfits, and participate in team battles. The new crossover arrives in time for the real-life NBA Playoffs.

Fortnite x NBA: The Crossover will include a five-day tournament in which all 30 NBA teams are represented. These Team Battles, as Epic calls them, kicked off today, May 19, and will run through May 23, with players having the opportunity to sign up on the event’s dedicated web page. The first 15,000 players to sign up for a team will be able to compete for V-Bucks and game rewards.

If you don’t manage to sign up for a spot on your favorite team, you’ll instead be able to register as a fan in the game, which will still include the chance to unlock rewards. The fan sign-ups will likewise be limited, but with a bigger cap at the first 550,000 players. You’ll need to sign up before the registration is closed.

The first three days of Fortnite x NBA: Team Battles will involve a series of challenges to complete. The last two days, however, which will take place on a weekend, will include leaderboards that track each team’s progress. Teams that rank the highest will get the NBA Championship Trophy back bling and a shot at V-Bucks. The full list of leaderboard rewards, including ranks to unlock them, can be found here.

Note that because there are a limited number of slots on each team, players who sign up but then are inactive during the Team Battles will be removed from the team and will lose the chance to participate in future NBA Team Battles. The empty slot will be given to the next person in line who registered as a fan.

Beyond the Team Battles, Epic teases that it will bring its NBA crossover into Creative. Though it doesn’t have any details on that yet, the company says that it will publish an NBA Welcome Hub on the Fortnite blog on May 25.

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Game

Dirt 5 and NBA 2K21 get big weekend promos on Steam

If you’re on the hunt for something to play this weekend, Steam may have you covered there. In addition to the normal weekend sale the company hosts week in and week out, Steam has also sent two rather big titles free-to-play for the weekend. Those games are also on sale, so if you try them out and decide that you like them, you can snag them at a discount.

The first game on offer is Dirt 5. The latest rally racer from the folks at Codemasters, Dirt 5 also has the distinction of being one of the first next-generation games out of the gate. Of course, console generations don’t necessarily mean anything to PC gamers, but those of you with beefy rigs might be able to get Dirt 5 looking pretty good in the graphics department.

The second game that’s gone free-to-play for the weekend is NBA 2K21, the latest in the long-running NBA 2K series. NBA 2K21 made a name for itself before it even released by being among the first next-generation games to be priced at $70, but thankfully PC gamers aren’t feeling that squeeze just yet, as the PC version only costs $60 at full price.

These games might be worth checking out during this free-to-play weekend, if for no other reason than the fact that they both seem to be risky purchases. NBA 2K21 has an overall rating of “Mostly Negative” from Steam users, and while recent reviews have only been “Mixed,” that still isn’t a great look for the game. Dirt 5 is in a similar boat, with “Mixed” user reviews across the board. If you’ve been on the fence because of those reviews, this is your chance to check these games out without putting any money on the line.

For those who try them and decide they want to keep them, both games are also on sale this weekend. Dirt 5 is half off for the weekend, bringing its price down to $29.99, while NBA 2K21 is 67% off with a price tag of $19.79.

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Tech News

I sat ‘courtside’ for an NBA playoff game thanks to Microsoft Teams

As a New Englander, I’ve been to my fair share of Boston Celtics games. I was in the stands for Paul Pierce’s “Wheelchair Game.” I was watching when LeBron James torched them for 21 points in the first quarter during the 2010 Playoffs. And I was there a few months later when the Celtics stunned LeBron in his first game as a member of the Miami Heat.

But none of those memorable moments can really compare to Sunday’s game. While millions of people were watching the Celtics sweep the Philadelphia 76ers in this first round of the NBA playoffs Sunday afternoon, I was lucky enough to be in the stands cheering them. OK, I wasn’t actually there, but if you were watching the game, you might have seen me.

nba virtual ticket NBA/1IOTA

There’s no virtual stub, but I got a virtual ticket to get into the game.

I scored a virtual seat to watch the game with a group of fans over Microsoft Teams. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has rejected any chance of fans gathering in giant arenas to watch live sports, Microsoft, Michelob, 1Iota, and the NBA have teamed up to offer fans around the world a chance to sit courtside during games and cheer on their favorite team as if they were in the arena.

BYO laptop and webcam

The whole process is very simple. I received my virtual ticket on Friday night instructing me to download the Microsoft Teams app to my Mac or PC before Sunday morning. As Microsoft repeatedly told the lucky fans who were chosen, neither the web version nor the mobile Play Store version supports the live virtual viewing, so Android tablets and Chromebooks aren’t ideal either. I was also told to find a spot in my house with a plain wall and we were encouraged to wear fan gear but refrain from bright colors that weren’t related to our team and holding up signs. And wearing a costume would get you tossed.

nba teams1 IDG

It’s just like a Teams meeting, except no one is dressed business-casual.

I received a login link at around 11:30 a.m. on the day of the game and went through a short registration process that mainly consisted of uploading a copy of my driver’s license for verification purposes. Then I waited for further instruction. About an hour later, I received a unique login and password for Microsoft Teams, fired up the app, joined the meeting, tested my camera, and waited to be led to my seat.

While I was waiting, an NBA moderator muted the room and ran us through the rules. We were instructed to keep our energy up throughout the game—and warned that we might be removed if we weren’t properly enjoying ourselves. We were also told to refrain from cursing or insulting players, and avoid rotating the person on camera. Dogs and cats were OK, but only one person was allowed in a seat at a time. And if we had to leave, the NBA stressed that we should leave our camera on, since turning it off is akin to giving up your seat. 

nba teams 2 IDG

if you have a small laptop like mine, you’ll be squinting to see yourself.

Next, a Microsoft Teams representative came on to help us get set up. We were told how to get both the Game Feed and the audience view on our screens and suddenly we were transported into a virtual seat as if we were sitting right in the arena. Since the TV broadcast is on a 10-second delay, we were told to watch the game within Teams so we would be reacting to the appropriate plays. Despite my courtside seat, I wasn’t rubbing elbows with celebrities (they get their own login), but I was in a room with about 30 other people—mostly Celtics fans even though it was technically a Philly home game. 

We heard the same spiel two more times for additional groups, so the excitement building in the room wasn’t quite what it is in an arena when lights go out and the starting lineups are announced. Even once the game started and we were unmuted, it was more of a chat room than a cheering section. There was the usual clapping for made baskets, groans for missed ones, and griping over fouls, but it never quite reached the level of emotion you get at an actual arena, even before the game turned into something of a blowout.

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