NBA has an AR basketball shooting game because, why not?

Augmented reality is the latest Silicon Valley craze. Now the NBA is getting in on it with a basketball shooting game.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read

The NBA has a new AR app for the iPhone featuring a pop-a-shot game. 


A new breed of apps is overlaying computer images on the real world so you can identify constellations in the sky, organize your future living room and even live in a hit music video. So, the NBA says, why not shoot digital basketballs too?

On Monday, the NBA released a new free iPhone app called NBA AR, designed to bring a sort-of basketball experience into fans' homes.

The way it works is that you download an app, which will scan your room and install an "authentic" NBA basketball backboard and hoop. Now, it's not the real kind, but rather a digital version complete with a ball you "flick" to throw at the hoop. Your goal is to sink as many shots as possible in 30 seconds.

The NBA is just the latest to jump into the growing craze around AR. Not only are other sports leagues toying with it, such as Major League Baseball's At Bat app that identifies players and their states on the field, but so are major companies. Ikea, for example, created an app that helps you place furniture around your home. Even the popular Thomas & Friends kids show has an AR app.

Much of this has been spurred by Apple , Google and Facebook, each of which have created augmented reality coding tools for developers following last year's Pokemon Go craze.

Whether or not this is something people actually want or will use is still unclear. So far, relatively few people have bought virtual reality headsets, which put screens so close to your eyes that your brain is tricked into thinking you're in a computer-generated world. This has led to dramatic price cuts in the past year

And so far, the NBA says the amount of time people spend watching live NBA broadcasts in VR is dramatically less than the amount of time they spend watching a game on television.

Regardless, the NBA is pushing forward. The league has other AR features in the works, and plans to release them throughout its regular season which starts Tuesday.

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