‘NBA Live 17’ Delayed: EA Will ‘Double Down’ On Title, Pushes Release To Normal Fall Timeline, Says CEO

NBA Live Mobile
NBA Live fans will have to stick with the mobile version for a little while longer after EA delayed the console NBA Live game until the Fall. EA Sports

For months, speculation has run rampant about the return of the NBA Live franchise sometime early in 2017, but EA Sports has yet to release the game. The feeling was a later release date would mean some fine tuning and ultimately, a renewed interest in the once popular title.

Those wishes came to a screeching halt as it was announced during EA’s quarterly report that NBA Live will not be returning at this moment. EA CEO Andrew Wilson said that the delay was in order to “double down” on the game and give Live a full NBA season to sell games instead of only getting a couple of months worth of sales. Wilson also added that when EA executives played the version of Live that was set to be released in the coming weeks, they felt “in all honesty [...] it’s really, really good — really fun.”

Yes, receiving a full NBA season to sell games make sense, but it didn’t help the last installment of NBA Live. NBA Live 16 only sold 8,000 copies in its first week, according to NPD via website Pasta Padre, compared to over a million copies of NBA 2K16 that sold in its opening week. There were some factors in the disparity of sales between the games, but those numbers showed one major issue that EA Sports couldn’t recover from...sports gamers just do not trust, nor do they want a basketball game from EA Sports.

The excitement surrounding the Live franchise was evident when I visited the EA Sports headquarters a couple of years ago. The folks at EA want to create a good basketball game and they were on the right track as every edition of NBA Live improved yearly. The problem the NBA Live team encountered is they are facing a Goliath-like figure in NBA 2K, who are consistently releasing great basketball games every year. By delaying the release of NBA Live 17 and possibly pushing it back to fall, EA is losing its opportunity to make a second first impression.

With all the doom and gloom that seems to be surrounding the NBA Live franchise, there is still hope. EA’s only hope is that they produce a game that sports gamers want to buy and play. Are they going to beat NBA 2K in sales and numbers? No, and if they believe that they will, they are not being honest with themselves. This is a start-from-scratch situation for EA Sports and 8,000 copies may have to be good enough for them in their first week. Getting the word out and players spreading the word that NBA Live 18 is a good game is how you start a renaissance. Start small and hustle. EA Sports needs to be the Dallas Mavericks from the 2011 NBA Finals.

The Mavericks faced the Miami Heat and while Miami had three stars, the Mavericks had an entire team playing. With all 12 players playing within a system, the Mavericks defeated the star-studded Heat. Those Finals showed that a team that with players playing their roles and doing their jobs, good things could happen.

EA Sports is the Dallas Mavericks and they have the people, or team, to complete the job. They are up against the star-studded Miami Heat that is 2K. It will be a seven game series, but 2K is not unbeatable as long as EA Sports keeps its expectations reasonable and continues to work hard. There is no reason they can’t put out a good game in the Fall. At this point, they have to because they are quickly running out of lives and regenerations are not part of basketball.

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