NBA Playgrounds has hit the sports gaming scene with a force. The old school NBA Jam and NBA Street vibe of the title has a lot of people hitting the boards to get a piece of the action. Today an NBA Playgrounds update was released for Steam that addressed some missing features and helped to refine the gameplay considerably. The patch should reach PS4, Xbox One and Switch in the very near future, but there's no exact date just yet. With the new patch NBA Playgrounds now has new players as well as the ability to play against friends online. Let’s take a look at what the NBA Playgrounds patch has changed in this latest update.

The biggest new addition to NBA Playgrounds in this update patch is the ability to challenge friends online. To use the new system you need to agree on a code, head into the online mode, switch over to Challenges, then enter the code to challenge your friend. This is similar to how Dark Souls handles playing online with friends. While not the easiest way to play against friends, at least the feature is finally in the game.

Disconnecting players has been a huge issue plaguing NBA Playgrounds online matches. With this new patch, players who drop out of games through any means other than going through the in-game menu to surrender. Couple with with the addition of a new ability to choose between ranked and unranked matches, and this should drastically improve online games in NBA Playgrounds.

If you've been having trouble hitting shots online, even after our helpful tips, the entire shooting system has been adjusted to feel more natural. The timing has been changed and things should be much easier now.

Finally, new players are joining the roster for free! Fans will be able to unlock the new players through card packs, just like the previous 250 players in NBA Playgrounds. In addition, Shq now has five new uniforms for the Celtics, Heat, Sun, Cavs and Magic. We'll be updating our list of player stats as we acquire the new players, so be sure to stay tuned.

NBA Playgrounds New Players

  • Dennis Rodman
  • Devin Booker
  • Gary Payton
  • Giannis Antetokoumnpo
  • John Starks
  • Isaiah Thomas
  • Kemba Walker
  • Kenny Smith
  • Klay Thompson
  • Larry Bird
  • Pete Maravich
  • Seth Curry
  • Tiny Archibald
  • Tony Parker
  • Tracy McGrady

Full Patch Notes (May 21)

New Features

  • Added: The Challenge Mode feature, which allows you to challenge other players to online matches
  • You can now switch between unranked challenges and ranked games in the online mode
  • To challenge another player, you must switch to the challenge mode in the online menu and define a challenge code. By default, your challenge code is your nickname, but you can change it to your own, personal code. The person you are challenging must enter your code.
  • If you have been challenged, please enter your challenger’s code and press “Accept”.
  • All challenges are unranked and your ranking/ELO will be unaffected by the results of the challenge.
  • Added: Toxicity system/Disconnection Manager, which penalizes players who abandon matches in any other way than surrendering
  • Added: 5 new versions of Shaquille O´Neal in various teams from his career (Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic)
  • Added: 15 new players join the roster
  • The following players were added: Dennis Rodman, Isaiah Thomas, Larry Bird, Giannis Antetokoumnpo, Kenny Smith, Gary Payton, Klay Thompson, Devin Booker, Tony Parker, Kemba Walker, Seth Curry, Tiny Archibald, John Starks, Tracy McGrady, Pete Maravich
  • Added: A shot-meter was added to help finding the perfect timing for shots, dunks etc.
  • Added: Steam Cloud Save support
  • Added: Steam Big Picture keyboard management

Improvements

  • Adjusted: Shots were adjusted to make the system more accessible and unified throughout all variations
  • Adjusted: The steal action was adjusted further to better fit the intended gameplay
  • It is now possible to perform a steal action when behind an opponent
  • Changed: 3 pointers no longer fill lottery pick bar
  • Increased: The difficulty of 3 pointers was increased
  • Reduced: The number of steals required for the Las Vegas Challenge #2 was reduced to 10 (was 15)
  • Reduced: The number of 3-pointers needed for the Paris Challenge #4 was reduced to 6 (was 7)
  • Reduced: The number of 3-pointers needed for the London Challenge #1 was reduced to 6 (was 10)
  • Reduced: The number of 3-pointers needed for the Las Vegas Challenge #3 was reduced to 8 (was 12)
  • Reduced: The inbound time was reduced to adjust it to the overall style of the game

Fixes

  • Fixed: Issues related to the strength of the force feedback effects were addressed

You can check out the previous NBA Playgrounds update below. This is the patch that was released on May 12.

The NBA Playgrounds May 12 update has changed how stealing works in the game and reports indicate that stamina replenishes a little slower now as well. Before this patch stealing was a huge strategy for players. You would almost be forced to have a player with a high steal stat on your team if you wanted a chance at winning, because most people would just spam the steal button until they finally got a pick. Following the new NBA Playgrounds update, a steal attempt now consumes a significant amount of stamina.

With the new NBA Playgrounds update in place, most players can only steal once or twice before they run out of stamina on the console versions of NBA Playgrounds (the PC version launched with steals using stamina). That means you can’t simply spam the steal button anymore. You have to be a lot more mindful about when you go for a steal. Couple this with the ability for the offensive player to use a crossover to avoid a steal, and the defensive player has to really time their steal attempt if they don’t want to waste stamina.

In addition to the new NBA Playgrounds update, the development team also announced that Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors will be joining the roster as a free addition. While no date was announced as to when Thompson would be available, more players will be coming to NBA Playgrounds alongside Thompson.

Full Patch Notes (May 12)

Improvements

  • Added ‘International English’ with metric units as a language option in case none of the supported languages is the user’s system language.
  • Adjusted timing for layups and 2-pointers from under the hoop. Layups are now easier to perform, and players with low stats for 2-pointers are slightly better than before.
  • Adjusted the steal action so that it now uses stamina, in an effort to better fit intended gameplay on consoles.
  • Changed the Stars Lottery Pick so that it can only be awarded if a team is at least 6 points behind.
  • Improved the frequency of catching a ball while in mid-air (for alley-oops).
  • Improved the online matchmaking algorithm.
  • Increased the duration of the 3-pointers x2 Lottery Pick power-up.
  • Reduced the duration of the Stars Lottery Pick power-up.

Fixes

  • Fixed an issue that prevented settings from being saved when leaving the options menu (this includes fixing an issue that prevented audio settings from being saved).
  • Fixed an issue that occasionally caused the Lighting Ball Lottery Pick to not score from longer distances.
  • Fixed the misspelling of a player’s name.
  • Fixed several localization related items and enabled Steam’s language panel in the game’s properties to change the game’s language. The languages available are now: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese.
  • Fixed an issue that occasionaly prevented users from seeing off-screen markers.
  • Fixed UI resizing issues in 1280x720 resolution.
  • Fixed issues related to key bindings in the Options Menu on PC.
  • Fixed an issue that prevented the ‘Q’ key from showing the Challenges of each Tournament Round on PC.
  • Fixed several desynch issues in bad network connection scenarios.
  • Fixed a problem where a dunk could score after the match ended.
  • Fixed a problem where certain menus could be skipped on PC without user input.
  • Fixed several problems that made the ball get stuck on the top of the backboard.
  • Fixed a problem that prevented the ball from spinning after scoring.
  • Fixed a problem in which failed dunks could score if the teammate was performing an alley-oop.

For more strategy and advice, be sure to check out our NBA Playgrounds game hub!