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NBA Live 16's face-scanning app: Actually pretty good!

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

After a one-week delay, NBA Live 16's face-scanning app hit mobile storefronts yesterday, and you know what? It's not half-bad! Certainly nowhere close to the trainwreck of an experience I had trying to get my noggin scanned into NBA 2K15 last year.

The app is available for Android and iOS devices. It launched for Android devices first (which I don't have) and I'd heard rumblings about problems late in the day on Monday, so I braced for the worst. While I can't speak to the Android version's capabilities, using my iPhone 6 was about as easy as it looked when the app was demoed at E3 2015, minus a couple of lock-ups that were easily resolved by dismissing the program and restarting it.

There's also a tutorial video if you're having trouble. This is my very first attempt, shot in my office against a blank wall with the window blinds open and fluorescent overhead lighting.


Hey, I can play ball with that! I'm figuring with that kind of a gourd, though, I'm gonna have to be a power forward. Usually I play as a shooting guard because I can't be bothered to play defense, rebound or learn the post controls.

Let's add something I lack.


Look, Ma, I'm Chuck Liddell!

NBA 2K15's face-scanning was a crapshoot. I'm sure it worked for others. It also did not work at all for me or many others. After I the posted video of my frustration, I got approximately 7,256 tweets and comments telling me the brick wall background in my living room was the problem. Well, the device taking the image was either a PlayStation Camera or Kinect 2.0 plugged into a console. I don't play video games in a professional photography studio, and an app should probably accommodate that lifestyle choice.

EA Sports smartly took this out of their game itself, put it on a companion app that people can carry anywhere (even outside, for the best lighting possible) and the results seem to be a lot better and certainly less of a headache.

But just for the hell of it, I took another scan with myself lined up against the brick wall.


OK, that did not go as well. But I opened my eyes wide midway through the first face scan, so that's on me. Once you get the full frontal scan, by all means hold that face. The app will ask you to slowly turn your head right and then left, with your device vibrating to let you know when to turn so that you don't have to look at the screen.

I'm happy with how this went the first time and I'm gonna stick with that. After you do the scan, it'll take between four and seven minutes to upload to the NBA Live servers. In the app itself, you can modify biographical details and choose a last name for announcers to say in the game.

NBA Live 16's demo is available today for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so this creation already is playable within the new Live Pro-Am multiplayer mode preview. For more, see my talk with the game's executive producer and senior designer from August. NBA Live 16 launches on Sept. 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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