NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off yesterday, with Commissioner Adam Silver soon to unveil several features that will be part of the future live game broadcast experience. The annual Tech Summit always offers a solid look into the future, and fans have been wondering what technological marvels lie ahead for the NBA viewing experience.
During his presentation, Silver mentioned many quality of life improvements, including wider customization options, alternative languages and integrated betting. Silver also brought other features like celebrity commentary and an animated graphics package, but they don’t appeal to me as much as the first three changes I mentioned. I’d always rather hear professional announcers talk about the game than some random celebrities trying to promote their new ad deal. But that’s just me. I’m sure some people are excited about those changes.
Regardless, the most notable change was the integration of augmented reality. This part of the play stole the show as Silver brought on Ahamad Rashadscanned him and put him right into Horton Tucker’s coverage.
WOW! INCREDIBLE. Is it really the best the league has to offer?
Who is this for? Who would want to enter the game in their mind? Sure, it might be cool for a second to see A half-baked version of you does something you could never do in real life, but what’s the point? Who are you going to show this to?? Your friends? It’s going to go really well.
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“Hey, look at this. I can put myself in the game.”
“Wow! That was good.”
“Would you like to see it again?”
“No, I’d rather just watch the game.”
The more you insist on showing people your avatar taking out highlights, the dumber you’ll look. It won’t make anyone look cool. It’s a neat party trick and that’s it. It is not worth investing millions in it.
What can you actually do with this feature?
What other uses can I think of for it? Well, if there’s a player they really don’t like or someone who’s been in NBA culture recently, fans can find themselves in situations where they can boo said player or make him look like a fool. I’m not going to lie and say that I have no interest in breaking Ben Simmons’ ankles, even if it’s fake.
What else? If I ever have kids, maybe I can trick them into thinking I was once a professional basketball player. That might be fun for a day or two, right?
Hmm… maybe if I can put multiple avatars into one play I can make it look like I’m choking on my friend.
That’s pretty much it though. Some will say things like: “Well, people love putting themselves in career mode in NBA 2K and it feels real, so why don’t we get the same feeling with this new technology?” but it’s funny. The 2K series is a video game, and the games are designed to make you feel for the character you’re playing as. Whether it’s in first or third person, you’re in control of every action your character takes, making you more of the person on screen than the person reading their lines. With this new AR technology, you are out of control. You know how the show is going to be, you know what they’re going to do. It doesn’t match the badass you feel when you pull off a sick maneuver in Blacktop mode or dominate the opposing team online. Your decisions led to that highlight, that huge win. With this, it seems that people who swore they would be in the league if it weren’t for the injury they suffered in high school saw a false alternate dimension and whispered to themselves, “I would be the best in the world ever.” saw.” Cal.
From the NBA’s perspective, I understand why they would want to introduce something like this. Augmented reality is the future, and perhaps this was the most they could get with such technology before the summit. However, I can’t think of anyone who legitimately wanted it.
Why not try ref cameras?
You know what would be even cooler? Ref cameras. People love to hate referees for making bad calls. Putting cameras on the referees to show their view of the action would be an interesting feature that I’m sure fans would love to see. There are several obvious disadvantages, the most important of which is that it opens the door to much more criticism for officials, but at the same time it can also provide perspectives; how difficult it is to detect certain violations in real time. What’s more, if the technology ends up being very effective for fans pointing out fouls, it could be used by video crews for instant replay to make appropriate calls at key moments. Doesn’t that seem like something everyone can follow?
Look, if you’re interested in the idea of keeping yourself sharp, I don’t blame you. how I said I’d laugh a little while watching me or my friend in one of our favorite episodes or Shaqtin’ a Fool moments. However, if this is the best the NBA has to offer at the tech summit, what are they doing?