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EA cancels NBA Live 20, hopes for slam dunk on next-gen systems

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2K’s unfathomably popular NBA2K series isn’t the only basketball game in town. Or rather, it usually isn’t, but is for now. EA boss Andrew Wilson has confirmed that EA’s binned its own NBA Live 20 this year, and will instead focus on the ne3xt generation of consoles when it returns to the court with its own game.

Said Wilson in an earnings call:

“With great support from the NBA and NBPA, we had been working on an innovative new direction for our game timed with the All-Star weekend – an experience designed around new ways for players to engage, connect and create through basketball.

Now, with greater understanding of the new platforms and what they can power – bringing social connection, accessibility, and player creativity to the forefront – we feel we can go so much further with the new design. So we’ve decided not to ship an NBA Live game in FY20. Instead, we’re expanding our vision for NBA Live, and continuing to work closely with our NBA and NBPA partners on this new project that we’ll share more details on next year.”

It’ll do a lot to unseat NBA2K from its throne as the king of basketball games – especially with the NBA choosing NBA2K as its game of choice for its esports leagues – but if EA can somehow avoid all the microtransaction nonsense and deliver a game that’s focused on the nuances of basketball more than trying to milk it like they do with FIFA and FUT, they could be on to something good.

I wouldn’t hold my breath though, especially with EA suggesting they want to “double down” on live services. That said, given how dynamic real sports are with roster and team changes, maybe it’s time for sports game to become live services themselves; cheap or free products that offer good core games, but are monetised through ways that don’t necessarily milk players for all they’re worth.

Last Updated: October 30, 2019

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