According to CEO John Riccitiello, EA's perhaps unprecedented decision to cancel NBA Elite 11 so late in its development was his. "There aren't many decisions that are essentially squarely on my desk," he told Kotaku. "This was one."

Riccitiello found this to be the least worst solution to the problem of a game riddled with bugs on the eve of release -- a "bad game," as EA Sports' Andrew Wilson put it. Either EA could have launched the game as it was (against the impressive NBA 2K11 competition), delayed it beyond the limited release window for basketball games (which would have drastically reduced market share and given the team less time to work on the next sequel), or it could cut its losses. "So there's the table: You can ship a product you're not proud of and compete for marginal share; [or] you can delay the game to get a better product, but that's going to have a knock-on effect," Riccitiello recalled. "And we made what I judged to be the best call given the circumstances."

The cancellation of Elite was tempered by EA Canada's ability to quickly assemble a standalone release of NBA Jam for PS3 and Xbox 360 (in addition to the original Wii version), but it did mean that the company would not release a simulation-style competitor to go up against the NBA 2K series this year. Riccitiello seems okay with that outcome. "I don't think the consumer was served badly by buying 2K," he admitted. "It's a good game. And I think we're better served." As for releasing the full version of NBA Jam on more platforms, Riccitiello believes "people got to see what a good game that is" ... since the downloadable version got benched alongside Elite.

[Image source: stayfly2407/YouTube]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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