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NBA Dead: An NBA Live Delay Story

/ May 16th, 2016 No Comments

NBA Live Delay

Daaamn, EA, back at it again with the NBA Live troubles. NBA Live has been delayed until early 2017, EA announced recently.

It is well documented that since the failed rebranding of NBA Live as NBA Elite, EA Sports has had trouble finding its footing in the basketball genre. NBA Elite never reached the market, and the troubles didn’t stop there. After transitioning back to NBA Live, EA was forced to scrap NBA Live 13 and delay NBA Live 14. They’ve since successfully released the game over the past two seasons. Despite this, 2K Sports still owns the market with NBA 2K. So what does this delay mean for NBA Live?

NBA Live 16

The default camera angle in NBA Live 16.

In the public eye, the delay of NBA Live looks very bad. Many people don’t see this as EA taking the necessary measures to develop a game that can compete with NBA 2K for sales in the long term. There is already a bias against the Frankenstein NBA Live series since they failed mightily with NBA Elite. It didn’t help that 2K Sports took advantage of the opportunity by building NBA 2K into more than just a game. They built a marketable culture, making it nearly impossible for EA to justify adequate marketing. So why would EA risk losing more sales by delaying NBA Live? Is the game really that bad?

Related: The NBA Live Revival Failed. It’s Time to Bring Back NBA Street.

No doubt, there is a special place in video game hell for abominations like NBA Elite, but NBA Live has shown some improvement over the past three years. In fact, NBA Live 16 showed the most promise. So, maybe EA is just being transparent with the consumer and acknowledging that the game needs some extra time in order to provide a great experience.

Maybe this is the beginning of the end for NBA Live. NBA Live 16 sales were unbecoming in comparison to NBA 2K16 (and nearly every other triple-A title). Maybe EA is establishing a role as second-fiddle when it comes to the NBA and has something crafty up their sleeves in the form (possibly another rebrand). On EA’s quarterly report, the planned release of NBA Live doesn’t include a year in the title, leading some to believe that EA Sports will experiment with a yearly update rather than annualized titles. There is even speculation of the game being free to play.

NBA Live 16

Could yearly roster updates become a reality with NBA Live?

There has always been talk of providing yearly roster updates to sports games rather than annualizing franchises, with many arguing that the games aren’t worth the $60 price point. If this speculation is true, NBA Live would satisfy those demands. There is no guarantee that this will increase sales, especially with the game set to release at least three months after NBA 2K17, but it would give the game a unique sales pitch.

Nevertheless, delaying NBA Live is a risky play. NBA 2K17 is set for an absurd amount of sales following the announcement of the Legendary Edition featuring Kobe Bryant in honor of Black Mamba’s retirement. NBA Live will have to come back strong to establish a market of any sort. It can be assumed that a lot of NBA Live loyalist won’t want to wait a few months to play a basketball game when there’s a highly reputable alternative available. However, three months is enough time to allow people to get over NBA 2K17.

2K is notorious for unforgivable glitches and player AI problems, so maybe people will be trading it in just in time for the release of NBA Live. If that’s the case, a yearly update would help EA maintain an audience, but it will all be for naught if the gameplay fails to capture that audience.

Only time will tell what the future holds for NBA Live, but for now it’s delayed until at least January 2017.


Chad Whitney

Chad Whitney

Social Media Maven and Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Chad is a contributor to Gaming Illustrated. A part of the Editorial team, The Chad has also dabbled in Reviews and Previews. The Chad has been a gamer since he became conscious of life. He has stated on more than one occasion that The Chad doesn't wear aluminum foil on his head, thus he is vulnerable to having his mind read. Mind reading can be a strain though, so FOLLOW The Chad @ChadNorris1390 on TWITTER.
Chad Whitney
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