EA didn’t instill confidence in its NBA Live reboot by effectively hiding it at E3. The game is supposed to release in October, and we still haven’t heard much about it. Compare that to any other game EA makes.
Madden NFL releases in August and its hype machine begins in April with the cover athlete.
The silence is telling.
Operation Sports got its hands on 10 minutes of gameplay.
It is not promising.
The game doesn’t look much better than NBA Live 10. In comparison to what NBA 2K has been doing, it’s quite disappointing. EA’s uncharacteristic silence seems like a quiet nod of agreement.
The leak did at least get EA to comment. Kotaku posted a link, which thousands of people viewed. The publisher took to damage control mode. A rep told Kotaku this footage is from a months old pre-alpha build and does not represent the final product. For the long term prospects of video game basketball, we hope so.
In 2010, EA attempted to rebrand its struggling basketball franchise NBA Elite. That project got all the way to the typical demo we see a couple of weeks before a release. That demo exposed a staggeringly bad basketball sim. EA cancelled NBA Elite 11. Things were in such disarray the company didn’t have a basketball game in 2011 either. It then announced the return of NBA Live, coming in October 2013.
EA’s quarterly earnings call gave another indication that things aren’t going well. NBA Live 13 didn’t appear in the list of games releasing between October 2012 and March 2013. Further stirring up intrigue, an Xbox Live Rewards listing shows a “digital” NBA Live 13 release. This fueled speculation that the game is in such a bad state EA may try to dump it off as a downloadable title. There, you would expect a price point of around $15, as opposed to the $60 a full retail release goes for. The publisher is denying those rumors, but hasn’t explained why it doesn’t mention NBA Live 13 as an October release.
October and the start of the NBA season is rapidly approaching. Right now, it’s hard to imagine what would be a bigger hurdle for NBA Live to overcome: another delay or another subpar game.