Recently promoted to COO, former EA Sports president Peter Moore talked to IndustryGamers about the company’s NBA series. After attempting an overhaul and re-brand going from NBA Live to NBA Elite the game was canceled at the very last minute after harsh consumer response to the demo and glitch videos having gone viral. The series was then transferred to the Tiburon studio where it is taking a year off before returning in fall 2012.
“It’ll take a while to get back, yeah. It’ll take us a few years maybe, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what it’ll be. We’re in our 20th year as a label… We’re not a short term player. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’ll sit here 3, 4 years from now and hopefully we’ll be talking about what a great battle NBA 14 or 15 is versus their 14 or 15,” he concluded.
He’s probably speaking more to sales numbers than quality here but that will be a factor too. There is simply no way that EA Sports NBA will launch something that was built from the ground up that will have the level of depth that NBA 2K currently has – and will be adding onto in coming years. Any edge they may have will come from feeling “fresh” and taking advantage of any areas that 2K has struggled in like online play.
It’s going to be tough to break back in as the NBA 2K series has entrenched itself culturally but there will always be an opening for competition that chooses to innovate. EA Sports has caught up to and passed competitors who were thought to be unstoppable at one point in time – FIFA with PES being the most prominent example. What was proven by NBA Elite though is playing off buzz words and trying to convince consumers they want something they haven’t asked for is not the way to go about it.