When I first played Carnival Games VR [Review: 6/10] at PAX West, the 2K PR representative was very friendly. He handed me the Oculus Touch controllers and I played a round of Swish, the carnival version of basketball, that tasked me with shooting as many hoops as possible in 45 seconds. After playing the demo I remarked that 2K should add VR features to arguably its most popular franchise: the NBA 2K basketball game series. The PR representative laughed and agreed, that would be a great idea.
Mr. PR Man was perhaps being a bit coy after all, because the min-game collection experience launches tomorrow for PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR.
Simply titled NBA 2KVR Experience, you’ll be tasked with completing a series of challenges and short game modes. The trophy list, previously leaked on Exophase, is titled NBA 2KVR Experience as well and includes achievements such as Skill Challenges, Three-Point Games, Party Events, and a Time Attack mode. This will not be a fully-fledged basketball title, but instead a new VR-focused downloadable experience, similar to Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare’s Jackal or the X-Wing Mission for Star Wars Battlefront.
According to the game trailer, gameplay consists of aiming with your face and shooting baskets in the various game modes. At the end, it does look like motion controllers are used to actuall throw the ball rather than just using only gaze-based aiming. Hopefully the gaze controls are just for the Gear VR edition of the experience.
VR Sports Challenge [Review: 8.5/10] is releasing soon for the Oculus Rift with Touch and includes a slew of basketball mini games and game modes, and other experiences such as Hoops VR exist on Vive already, but NBA 2KVR should be a big step forward for the sport, and the publisher. This is now the very first licensed sport video game to offer any sort of VR integration. Stepping onto one of the iconic courts (such as the Indiana Pacers, shown in the trailer above) from the actual NBA or donning the sneakers of your favorite sports star is something that could dramatically improve the marketability of VR as an industry.
NBA 2KVR is releasing tomorrow, November 22nd, rerportedly for $14.99 on PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, and Samsung GearVR. An Oculus Rift release is not yet dated. It’s developed in collaboration with Gatorade.