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NBA Live not at EA's press conference because 'it deserves its own time'


EA Sports is resurrecting its basketball franchise this fall, yet oddly it is absent from E3. With only months to go until we're in that fall timeframe, the decision was made to hold back NBA Live 13 from E3. "We have some really cool and aggressive stuff we have planned for NBA Live, and we felt it deserved its own time," EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson told me.

"We're going to come back in the next little while and talk specifically about our plans for NBA Live and how we come back to market this year, because we're going to do things differently," Wilson said. EA Sports has to, because 2K Games has dominated the basketball games market with its NBA 2K series for the last few years, something Wilson is well aware of.

So why call it NBA Live again? EA originally ditched that name for NBA Elite, to help convey to fans that this new series would have a higher quality bar than the NBA Live series, which had become synonymous with all of the worst assumptions about annualized sports game releases. But then NBA Elite 11 was canceled because, well, it was "going to be a bad game."

Still, despite all of that drama and turmoil, apparently the "Live" name is important to what EA hopes to accomplish with NBA Live.

NBA Live not at E3 because 'it deserves its own time'
"When you think about our three strategies as a sports label – innovation that changes the way you play, moving from a product to a product-plus service that changes the game as you play, and connecting gamers to their sport and each other and across platform in an online live manner that is dynamic – NBA Live as a name just made sense. We are moving from a world that was static, dead media on a disc to a world where the purchase of the game on disc is just the beginning of the experience you're going to enjoy throughout the entire season."

Wilson said that "even if we'd never used Live before, it'd still be the right branding for us, given our focus of not just delivering an initial purchase of a game, but following it up with dynamic service that links you to your sport, links you to other fans and links you to an experience across platforms. Live is just the most appropriate name for that type of experience and a relaunch just made sense in that way. It's less about was Elite good or bad, or did we use Live before or not – it's just a very good descriptor of the type of experience we want to deliver to basketball gamers."

Finally, I asked if EA would launch a demo for NBA Live, to which Wilson responded, "that would be the plan."

[Note: Images in this post are from NBA Live 10.]

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