NBA Lockout Offers Potential Opportunity for a Future College Basketball Series

Posted November 16th, 2011 at 9:15 am

Both EA Sports and 2K Sports abandoned college basketball video games earlier this generation. What it came down to was college games, outside of football, simply don’t sell well – and they open themselves up to ongoing litigation regarding the use player likenesses. The recipe was one of high risk and low reward. Both companies – along with many others – have instead decided to dedicate resources to proven properties with greater potential return rather than investing in those that have little upside.

2K dropped out after College Hoops 2K8 (which will be remembered as one of the best sports games this gen) as the market simply couldn’t support two competing titles. Considering development costs the market was found to not be substantial enough to even support a single game. Only two years later EA bowed out following the disappointing NCAA Basketball 10.

I’ve continued to hear rumblings of a college basketball game in the works at EA Sports with the plan to release it bi-yearly. When, or if, that will end up materializing remains uncertain. There could be a window now though with the NBA lockout offering increased exposure for college basketball that goes beyond just the boom that is March Madness.

The idea however that all of the sudden a college basketball video game would sell a significant amount more given the NBA situation than it would have otherwise is a faulty one. If that was the case the TV ratings for college games would be on the rise right now. The only one that has registered a blip so far was the ‘Carrier Classic’ given its heavy promotion and airing on CBS ESPN in primetime with the unique setting of playing on an aircraft carrier.

A full-featured collegiate offering could be difficult to package as a digital-download, though EA did try somewhat with NCAA Basketball 09: March Madness edition which focused solely on the tournament. It didn’t sell all that well but the economic climate has changed and digitally distributed titles have become much more accepted since then.

All of this though still ignores that eventually the NBA will be back and the professional league titles will completely overshadow a college game that would presumably release after them on the schedule. It could try the February/March release time frame to capitalize on the tournament and distance itself from them but EA has experimented with that in the past and there was no positive effect on sales. The player likeness lawsuits have not been settled either making it a questionable decision to put out an additional product that could end up costing the company in damages in the future.

While the non-existent NBA season would have been a perfect opportunity for a company to offer up a college basketball game none could take the risk that it would play out this way as they still far outweigh the rewards. That won’t necessarily be the case forever – and the NBA is helping that process along with their extended lockout.

  • If they just implemented the new rule changes, updated the floors and uniforms of College Hoops 2K8, I would buy it. Bring back College Hoops!

    • Sdot



  • Church 5

    The carrier classic was on ESPN

    • Whoops, you’re right, CBS was on my mind for some reason! Fixed.

  • Carrierclassiconespnnotcbs

    I dont think CBS has even broadcasted a game yet, usually not till December.  Complete flail on your part Pasta

  • NoFro904

    I Hope They Make a new One. I Fiend for it every year. 

    I don’t think i can take to much more of College Hoops 2k8 everything is just to out of date.

    • Hometownhero09

      i agree

    • Abc

      True dat!

  • I think NCAA Basketball 10 failed for the same reason elite did it was an inferior product. if EA had dropped out first college hoops might still be going

  • Anonymous

    I’d go for a new college basketball game.  Since NCAA football dropped FCS schools this is the only way I could play with my Leathernecks!

  • Rogauthi

    I’m sorry.. unless EA does a complete 180 with thier basketball games… them making a college basketball game doesn’t make me excited…. I WANT COLLEGE HOOPS BACK!! I still own 2k8 and still play it… 

    Also, Pasta what are the chances of EA or 2K coming out with a FIBA only basketball game? Kinda like they do with FIFA… think that would be an awesome game. 

    • As far as I know EA still has the FIBA license. It might sell some in Europe but I doubt it would be enough to support a full-fledged title even if fleshed out completely. 

  • JohnZapp

    wasnt a company suppose to make one last year????????


  • Coolcam28

    I hope! College basketball is so much more exciting than NBA!

  • I would love a new college basketball game, even if were bi-yearly. All they would need to do is offer DLC/patches for any rule changes and such, I’d be happy with that.

  • Mr. Tarheel

    Pasta how reliable are these NCAA Basketball 13 rumors you’ve been hearing?

  • Lonnie

    would love a new ncaa bb game but would only buy it if 2k made it…take the nba game and put the college teams in it and it would sell a lot..

    • Joe

      lol yea that’d just be so easy, cause theres only 30 college teams and they use the same playoffs. plus nba’s online sucks and the gameplay is trash

  • Anonymous

    EA has loss me as a customer after the shit they pulled with NCAA 10 and at this point MLB The Show is the only sports game I play. I miss college basketball so damn bad and pray it will come back either by 2k or EA

  • Slavis

    Man i really do hope they consider bringing back a college basketball this year or early next because 2k is already getting boring as fuck

  • Wzuptonight

    Please bring back college basketball but only if its by 2k cause Ncaa fails terribly in basketball please 2k brings hoops back just imagine nba 2k but college 2k instead awesome

  • Anonymous

    If they release it, please make it available in Australia…

  • Anonymous

    2k should just make a College game and bite the bullet. 2k8 was amazing didn’t understand why they stopped making em. I think a college hoops game would sell well because its associated with 2k NBA basketball and the only reason 2k12 is doing bad is because of the lock out.

  • You say that college basketball games don’t sell well… 

    Now this is just me personally, but I’m a HUGE NFL and college basketball fan. I can’t really tell you why but I tend to not enjoy NCAA football as much, and then don’t enjoy the NBA much… However I LOVE Ncaa football (the video game), and love the draft class integration into madden.

    I love college basktball and have yet to play what I would even consider a half decent game. 

  • The truth be told I think College Hoops would survive better in the market now, especially with EA’s hoops presence at basically zero. EA has a long hard road to get back up to the top of the basketball gaming market, and in that time 2K should get to working on a hoops title. Beavis and Butthead are back, why not College Hoops? 

  • Anonymous

    Quote from article

    The NCAA just over a year ago signed a $10.8 billion (that’s a “B”)
    contract with CBS/Turner Sports to broadcast NCAA Tournament games until
    2024 — that’s $771 million annually, in case you were wondering. These
    are not characteristics of a sport without fans.

  • NellyNell2012

    I believe that with the class that is in college right now this year was the year to do it. T. Jones Perry Jones Quincy Miller Duece Bellow Antony Davis Harrison barnes. You guys no where am headed this year is so deep with talent. How many of these guys will be here after this year. But that is the joy of college hoops the unknown. We know who the NBA power houses are in that makes it less interesting to play. Dont know about you but, when i play an NBA game i like playing with teams with less talent for the challege. In college anyone can win I hope EA or 2K reads these forums please bring it back.

  • Nheard822

    2k need to bring back ncaa bb they make the better game!! EA hasnt hit on much with ncaa bb..

  • Dion Waiters

    Since NBA 2k12 is so popular, then why cant they put this much effort into an NCAA game?