For many years, EA’s NBA Live series was the premier basketball simulation for video gamers. They offered great graphics (at the time) and accessible enough gameplay to make the overall experience fun.
It seemed like the NBA Live series would go on forever much like the FIFA and Madden series. That is until recently when the NBA Live series went dormant. Will EA then revive NBA Live 14 for next generation consoles?
Before I go on to talk about that, let’s look back at how EA messed up its “annual” basketball franchise in the first place.
EA’s dominance was challenged once 2K Sports entered the fray. There were now two quality basketball games out on the market and hardcore fans would choose the NBA 2K series over the NBA Live games. Especially once both series made their debuts on the PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles, the NBA 2K games offered better graphics and better gameplay opposed to the arcade style of gameplay that NBA Live used since the ‘90s.
When the NBA 2K series started to become more popular, EA knew it had to do something different to make the NBA Live series reclaim its crown as the top video game basketball franchise. They dropped the “NBA Live” name and tried to re-brand the series as NBA Elite. NBA Elite 11 was announced in 2010 as EA’s “new” basketball series and was set to be the reboot of the NBA Live series. This is because the game would use the right analog stick for you to shoot and new animations were promised as well.
Things appeared to be looking up for EA until a demo was released for the game just a few weeks prior to the game’s launch. If you were “lucky” enough to have played the demo, you would have seen and experienced the multiple hilarious glitches the game had. One of the most famous moments in the NBA Elite 11 demo was when one of the players would freeze in the middle of the court and pose like Jesus.
Due to the overwhelming negative response to the demo and its unforgivable glitches, EA decided to cancel the release of the game altogether. There was not enough time for EA to eradicate all of the glitches in time for the game’s release. It didn’t help EA either that 2K Sports signed a deal with Michael Jordan to allow him to appear exclusively on their games for the next couple of years either. Once NBA 2K11 came out, many people thought EA had quit making basketball games forever.
Two years after the disaster that was NBA Elite 11, EA had the confidence to revive NBA Live again in 2012 as it was set to release NBA Live 13. EA released a couple of screenshots and a trailer for the game and it looked like NBA 2K13 would have a competitor that year. Much like with NBA Elite 11, just a few weeks prior to the game’s release in October, more details about the quality of the game surfaced. Reports at the time suggested NBA Live 13 would have been a digital only release. We’ll never know for sure if that was true or not since EA decided to cancel NBA Live 13 as well due to “poor development”.
It is now 2013 and 2009 was the last year EA had released a NBA Live title. With two bungled attempts at releasing basketball games during that time, EA has pretty much allowed 2K Sports to dominate the NBA video market all on its own. Is there a way that EA can successfully revive the NBA Live series once more?
The solution to the problem is if EA can announce and release NBA Live 14 to launch alongside both the PS4 and Xbox 720 consoles that are due out later this year. Although EA was not present during
Sony’s PS4 announcement back in February, they can show off their new games in late April when Microsoft is set to announce and reveal the Xbox 720 (or whatever it is going to be called) for the very first time. A good way for EA to generate buzz and excitement for NBA Live 14 is if gameplay footage from the game is shown then.
Since the Xbox 720 is rumored to only work if a Kinect is connected to the console, EA could also show off some Kinect only features for NBA Live 14 as well. If NBA Live 14 is to feature some kind of Slam Dunk contest where you can use the Kinect, that would be an awesome feature to have in the game.
If EA finally has the courage to release NBA Live 14 this year, releasing the game to launch with both the PS4 and Xbox 720 will be a good way to revive the series once again. The new hardware will make basketball games look and play more realistic than ever. Until then, EA needs to gain some of its fans back first. Some fans may not trust EA anymore after the cancellations of NBA Elite 11 and NBA Live 13. Not to mention there are other things the company have been doing lately to upset video game fans as well…