Google upgrades its NBA Pixel Arena app just in time for the playoffs

Check out people’s avatars, play new minigames, and remix highlights.

Google / YouTube

The NBA’s regular season ends in just a couple of weeks, but Google just surprise-dropped a major overhaul of its popular Pixel Arena feature. The original Pixel Arena was advertised as a virtual space for fans to fully experience the NBA, but there wasn’t much to do other than play trivia and watch 3D shot recaps. The new Pixel Arena, however, is chock-full of activities for the discerning basketball fan, according to an official blog post.

The biggest change is that users can now roam freely around the space, so the emphasis on menu-diving has been reduced in favor of natural exploration. As you roam about the virtual arena, you want to look your best for onlookers, so the avatar creation process has also been significantly overhauled. The updated avatar builder now takes more natural skin tones into consideration, with adherence to the 10-shade Monk Skin Tone (MST) scale.

Google was also not shy about adding new virtual fashion and accessory options, saying there are now over a “trillion style combos inspired by futuristic streetwear and basketball culture.” Of course, each avatar comes with a fake Pixel 7 Pro because brand synergy. Additionally, the highlight clips tool has been updated, allowing users to remix 3D highlights by spotlighting specific viewing angles and the like.


Google and the NBA have added some new mini-games to the roster, though they continue to be trivia-based. Still, the app is loaded with machine learning algorithms that automatically populate new trivia questions based on recent events. For instance, if a player scores a career high, you will likely encounter a relevant question sooner rather than later. All of those modes are available in single-player or multiplayer. If trivia isn’t your bag, try Niantic’s AR streetball app.

Google’s Pixel Arena is part of the official NBA app. Just sign-in with your NBA ID and head to the Discover tab and give it a go. New highlights will continue to be added as the season winds down and the playoffs begin. Despite being a Google offering, Pixel Arena is available for both Android and iOS phones.