NBA 2K22 still seems some way away, but it looks as if 2K is acquiring businesses to help them push the limits of what is capable from their next level,
Following on from 2K's acquisition of HB Studios - the team behind PGA Tour 2K21, this week the California-based 2K has now picked up HookBang.
What is HookBang?
According to the HookBang website, they specialise in "Assistive Reality".
"Assistive Reality is a subset of Augmented Reality that is focused on computer-assisted help.
"It employs an intelligent virtual agent, drawing from Artificial Intelligence and Machine Vision to create a contextually-aware camera system that solves complex problems for users in real time"
HookBang worked with 2K for NBA 2K21, to "provide art, design and engineering support on NBA 2K21", as well as on the esports focused NBA 2K League.
The HookBang team will join Visual Concepts, the studo behind the NBA 2K franchise.
HookBang CEO Frank Roan said: “Working with a studio as prominent as Visual Concepts on NBA 2K21 was an extraordinary opportunity for HookBang.
“Formally joining Visual Concepts and 2K allows us to accelerate our impact on the product, the company and the Austin development community.”
So what doors could this open up for NBA 2K22?
In the short term, perhaps not a lot - given that HookBang has worked with Visual Concepts on the franchise before.
But looking ahead, and with their usage of Assistive Reality in mind, this does open up possibilities around AR and VR in the future - an area of gaming that we haven't seen take off as of yet.
Greg Thomas, President at Visual Concepts said: “NBA 2K is a vital part of 2K’s publishing business and the larger video game industry, as well as a fixture in global pop culture lexicon.
"We have made many investments in NBA 2K over the years, each of which has helped us reach new heights.
"HookBang has partnered with us on NBA 2K for the past couple of years, and we’re pleased to welcome its talented team to the Visual Concepts family.”
The esports scene for a range of sports titles is growing, and expect to see HookBang's support in the development of 2K League in the coming years.
Last year's 2K League prize pool was a staggering $1.4 million, showing how seriously 2K takes this part of the game.