Google and the National Basketball Association announced updates to the NBA and Pixel Arena inside the official NBA app just before the end of the season. The playoffs begin on April 15, 2023.
The virtual space was jointly developed by Google and the NBA last season to connect the 99% of fans who have never experienced the NBA in a live arena. It is only accessible through a mobile device.
The updates start with the ability to let fans roam freely, see each other’s avatars and check out the latest Google Trends based on what NBA fans worldwide are searching. The ability to roam freely around the space focuses on natural exploration.
Personalized features and content for avatars, as well as creative ways to view highlights and more mini games are available.
With the updated Avatar Builder, fans can add more natural skin tones from the Monk Skin Tone (MST) Scale, a 10-shade scale incorporated into Pixel’s Real Tone camera technology. Fans can unlock new virtual fashion and upgrade their avatar’s attire with over a trillion style combos inspired by futuristic streetwear and basketball culture. And each avatar comes complete with a Pixel 7 Pro in their color of choice to serve as a virtual guide to navigate the Pixel Arena.
A special guest appearance from an avatar of Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid introduces fans to the new Highlight (Re)Mixer, inviting them to “remix” 15 classic and new NBA plays.
For the NBA fan, the feature uses 3D-pose estimation to turn captured videos into 3D content, and then export them with rendering technology. The Highlight (Re)Mixer lets fans reenact the highlight and put their own spin on it with new camera angles and visual effects.
New games are available such as the NBA Shot Trivia and Baller Blitz, offered in single and multiplayer mode. Using Google’s machine learning technology and nightly NBA game stats, these games surface trivia questions that have meaningful historical context for the players and teams featured.
The NBA Arena, a virtual space launched in 2022. The idea was to give fans a virtual experience based on real-time information from the games. App users can access the Pixel Arena through the app by selecting a specific game.