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Nike SB’s new skateboarding app will turn skateparks into real-world video games

nike sbs new skateboarding app sb
(Photo: Image used with permission by copyright holder

You know those kids you’ve seen hanging out in the back corner of the parking lot with one foot on a skateboard and both hands on their iPhones? They may not be harassing friends on Facebook, or hacking into your bank account. Thanks to the new Nike SB App from the footwear giant’s skateboarding division, they may be in the middle of a Game of S.K.A.T.E. with someone on the other side of the planet, or just learning a new trick by watching a Nike pro perform it on video.

The Nike SB app (which is now free in the Apple iTunes App store) is loaded with options destined to make it a favorite of the street rolling crowd. “Features like multi-angle tilt-to-play video, YouTube dynamic uploading and streaming, gamification, Trick Tree, and the game of S.K.A.T.E., are all packaged in a 40-megabyte-memory footprint, leaving space for music, photos and whatever else to be stored on your phone,” according to a press release.

The tilt-to-play videos feature tricks from Nike SB’s all-star team of skaters, like Sean Malto, Paul Rodriguez, Alex Olson, Brian Anderson, Cory Kennedy, Lance Mountain, Omar Salazar, Shane O’Neill, Stefan Janoski, and Theotis Beasley. The app utilizes the iPhone’s accelerometer to control playback on the videos; tilting the phone away from you slows the video down while tilting it toward you speeds it up. Additionally, the videos can be played forward or backward, and swiping a finger across the video changes the viewing angle on the trick.

We’ll need to get our hands on this to confirm, but if the app works as advertised then Nike may have just created the best how-to video player we’ve ever seen.

The app enhances the learning process with a “Learn and Film Tricks” feature that acts as both a training plan and a trick log, while streamlining uploads to YouTube. All this user generated content is visible in the app and can be liked, with popular videos gaining promotion. So, yeah … “I’m at the top of the Nike app today!” bragging rights are about to be a thing.

If all that weren’t interesting enough, the “Game Of S.K.A.T.E.” all skater-on-skater competition between any other user of the app, anywhere in the world. S.K.A.T.E. is played like H.O.R.S.E. in basketball, with one skater initiating the game by landing a trick and the second skater needing to land the same trick or receive a letter. It’s been popular at skateparks and street spots for years, but it’s never been internationally app-ified until now.

Users can log in to the Nike SB app with either a Facebook or Nike+ account and begin using the app right away. Nike does ask permission to “post to your Facebook stream” and we all know how annoying those postings can be. There are also direct links to website where footwear and clothing can be purchased. Didn’t think they’d leave that part out did you?

Aside from being fun, the Nike SB is also collecting data from from what will surely be an army of connected skateboarders. And that data will help the footwear maker to even more finely-tune its already laser focused marketing efforts.

So next time you see kids hanging out on your local flat concrete spot with their phones out remember, they may not be making trouble, they might just be bringing home a win in a global game of S.K.A.T.E.

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Lee Crane
Lee Crane's career in action sports spans print, TV, and digital media; his work and handsome mug have appeared in and on Fox…
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