NBA Live 13 Going Solely Digital Would Be Yet Another Big Misstep

Posted August 6th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

The complete uncertainty surrounding NBA Live 13 continues with the latest that the product could end up being a digital release. If that is the tactic being put into play by EA Sports it’s one they’ll likely regret. There is the necessity to differentiate from the entrenched competition but limiting the market and reducing value is not the way to do it. 

Given that EA Sports won’t confirm anything related to NBA Live 13 it’s unclear whether a digital strategy would mean releasing only as a download or in conjunction with a traditional retail release. Of course it’s fair to question whether the game will even release at all at this point. When thinking digital though factors such as the lack of a cover athlete, being absent from the “Season Ticket” program, EA not pre-selling the game on their own Origin site, no pre-order incentives having been announced, and general retailer confusion about the product suggests this could be the first attempt at a major title only being available as a digital download.

The next big question then would come down to price. If Live were to release at a discount that would then open up the potential of regaining a foothold in the market. The NBA however would be unlikely to allow that. The league has designated the $60 price and release date of the first Tuesday in October in the licensing agreement. Granting EA an advantage in price needless to say would not go over well at 2K Sports and that is a partner the NBA can not afford to upset.

Should NBA Live 13 release exclusively as a digital download and at $60 its prospects for success would be very slim. EA Sports would be removing a portion of the consumer base just by going digital. Those without internet access would be unable to download the game and those with small hard drives would not be able to download the game.

Worse than that though is the value would significantly decrease. $60 as a digital download ends up costing consumers more than $60 as a retail product. There is no ability to sell the game when finished with it and retailers would be cut out of the process meaning no pre-order deals which in recent years has led to many major sports titles coming out at the equivalent of $40-45. Price cuts would also take much longer to materialize as it would be at the sole discretion of the company rather than individual retailers.

There are other factors as well that have to be considered when solely digital like how long it takes to download the game and the inability to rent it or even take it to a friends’ house to play. The convenience of just downloading rather than going to a store or waiting for a delivery represents the upside. From EA’s standpoint digital would cut out manufacturing costs which is appealing but they would then be taking on significant bandwidth charges from Microsoft and Sony. They would however have a consumer base that is 100% connected making for an easy target for selling loads of downloadable content and they would have no concerns over used copies in the wild eating into their sales.

Many believe the future will be fully digital but that time is not here yet and experimenting with NBA Live 13 would be another mistake in a long line that EA Sports has made with the series. They would be completely conceding the market to the competition while limiting their own reach and highlighting their inferiority by offering even less value to the consumer.

  • Just pull the plug!

  • Juukbox

    It seems no matter what they do, they just cant get it right… Shame.

  • JJRage

    It says a lot that they’re not even committing the game to Season Ticket. It shows that they have so little confidence in the product that they’re not even willing to let EA loyalists that have purchased Season Ticket try the full thing out for a few days, lest we cancel our preorders.

  • jz

    I would get more satisfaction flushing my money down a toliet than giving it to EA for this game.

    • 2kstinks

      I would much rather Live than 2k. Have you seen the gameplay for 2k13? It’s horrible. How can people blast Live when they haven’t seen the gameplay?

  • hermanvanness

    If they a do a digital release for much cheaper than a retail release then it’s a good move. No disc, printing, packaging, shipping, etc. Saves a lot of money.

  • Keith.

    Lol at EA — sounds like they’re gun shy about getting stuck with a warehouse full of unsold basketball games (again). They’d be in the same boat with football but for the exclusive license they over pay for every year.

  • CMPunked

    I’d buy NBA Live 13 Digital for $15 top. It could be fun to play when I’m too lazy to get up and swap discs for a new game.

    • CLEfan4LIFE

      who is possibly that lazy?? do you weigh over 300lbs?? c’mon now, you can’t be serious with this comment.

      • CMPunked

        A Cleveland fan making a fat joke, that’s interesting.

        • 49ersfan1

          lmao thats hilarious cmpunked

        • CLEfan4LIFE

          haha… dumb.

      • 49ersfan1

        @clefan4life ikr

  • word_is_bond

    Not so fast Pasta……….did you see the leaked NBA Live cover thats all over youtube and operation sports. lets not get toooooo happy 2k people. We need competition over here.

    • Live won’t be any competition. it’ll just be a shitty product that will sell poorly and look like an embarrasment compared to 2K.

      • word_is_bond

        I don’t care if its shitty or not I just know that 2k needs competition so they (2k) can up grade game play and stop giving us all this hollywood bullcrap with jay z.

        • word_is_bond

          Danny B, you are absolutely correct. 2k has gotten lazy. Another hoop game is needed to boost the competition.

        • What part are you not understanding? Live will not be competition. Period. To be competition, you have to actually be competitive qua;ity-wise with the top product in the market. Bad products aren’t competitive.

          • word_is_bond

            I give a damn if it’s competitive or not, 2k needs for live or any other company to attempt to make a game…….this bullcrap 2k been serving up for the last 3 years is for the birds. Jay Z is the best thing they(2k) had to offer this year?……….yea, we(2k) are really on the ball over here. Shut up or get caught up.

          • I don’t see how a terrible basketball game like Live will help any more than a terrible football game like BackBreaker helped Madden (though Madden has been pretty terrible, too). Could Live improve over time? Sure. But even a mentally challenged child improves over time. But at the end of the day, he’ll always be mentally challenged.
            See where I’m going there?

          • word_is_bond

            Yea, I see were your going……….you must be that mentally ill child. You are missing the point. Your one of those 2k people thant can’t see outside of 2k. I who like 2k can all see when they’re bullshitting us. One question for you lown You…….have played the last 3 2k bball games. If yes, were they worth your dollar?

          • Listen idiot, I tried to be civil but you’re just a moron. Look, I don’t give two shits about Live or NBA 2K because I don’t play basketball games anyway. I care about market issues because they ultimately affect the health of a company. It’s not my fault that you’re too dumb to understand that concept. Your “point” is just ill-informed musings from the typical run-of-the-mill video gamer who doesn’t know shit from mud.

            If you want to live in a fantasy world where Live is even worth being humored as “competition” for NBA 2K which has clearly won this generation by a landslide and has put Live on the run, then you go ahead and do that, dumbass. I on the other hand choose to live in reality. When you wake up, let us know.

          • MY_WORD

            Don’t give me that bull about not giving a shit about live. You defending 2k as if it was your mom. Go suck some.

          • That’s impossible because but your whore of a mom already has them all in her mouth.
            And like I said, I don’t give a shit about basketball games. I don’t play them. Period.

          • MY_WORD

            I know you and your mom are playing live 10. Stop crying Big girl. If you didn’t give a shit about 2k you would have stop blogging about this subject 2days ago. Now go play your mom in live 10. I dare you to say something else.

          • Skopin

            Not just this year. This is the biggest announcement in NBA 2k history!

          • word_is_bond

            Are you referring to the Jay Z announcement? If so, unbelievable.

          • Skopin

            Of course. 2k said it themselves that it was the biggest news in NBA 2k history back at E3.

          • word_is_bond

            I hear ya Skopin. 2k needs to come with it this year.

          • roarshack1

            I think the point was that with any other basketball game on the market, there is potential for that game to improve over time, forcing 2k to also improve on gameplay and not necessarily just gimmicks involving jay z or ASW. No one is expecting the “competition” to be anywhere close to the same quality, but it is possible that if Live got its foot back in the door, 2k could feel some heat and make a few improvements…But who knows, maybe those improvements are coming this year…..

          • word_is_bond

            I dont think he will get your point. He’s one of those 2k fans who thinks 2k is it. Apparently he doesn’t play online (connection sucks) and he can’t see the difference from 2k10 to 2k12(no upgrades). Just the threat of another bball game would naturally make 2k step their game up.

      • You do realize 2k gets horrible reviews year after year. 2k is complete shit.

        • Sniper

          NBA 2K11-9.5 (IGN)
          NBA 2K12-9.5 (IGN)

          Yeah, those reviews are HORRIBLE.

          Fuckin moron!

          • Aabbcc123

            Those ratings are way too high. Those games were not that good. lack of control, scripted gameplay

          • Sniper

            Those ratings are not too high. Both those games were great. Flaws? Yes but still great games. That moron said that 2K gets “horrible” reviews year after year when clearly they don’t.

          • Skopin

            Those ratings are far too high. 2k has way too many “flaws” to be rated that high. As in game-changing flaws that completely ruin the experience.

          • NELL86

            IGN not real credible when it comes to sports reviews 2k11 review i agree 2k12 highly overrated

        • jpdavis1982

          Damn, I’ve never seen THAT many downvotes. I can only imagine that you yourself are one of the two upvotes.

  • CLEfan4LIFE

    EA Sports < Having to take a shit right after you shower

    • Crimson

      Awesome. That’s damn truth man.

  • ea rules!!!

    game of year!!

  • Frunkis

    Epic Fail 13

  • clubsteve

    this is the year that ea actually has a chance……and now this?????

  • In my opinion, a $19.99 digital release with a great game would be a brilliant strategy … assuming they’ll release something worth releasing.
    Frankly, I thought they had something to build on with NBA Live 10. Agree, it was still not at NBA2k level, but it had promise.
    A game like that with 3-4 years of work and a $19.99 price point has some promise.
    Again, it’s still not NBA2k, but in my opinion, NBA2k has gotten way too (expletive deleted) hard and complicated.

    I respect da Czar and all the NBA2k diehards, but when I sit down to play a sports video game … I don’t wanna learn 5,000 isomotion moves.

    • word_is_bond

      Great points Dave. 2k has a million controls to learn. If 2k could just simplify their controls and upgrade the game itself, they would be on to something. I hope we can have two good bball games………one makes the other better. I know most of yall hate to here about live 13, but competition will possibly make 2k get off thier behinds and put out something new. Tired of playing the same game with Jay Z music.

      • Sniper

        People who want the controls simplified are just to lazy to take the time and learn all the moves. People want all kinds of moves and animations yet they want a simple control scheme. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Sometimes it takes a hard control scheme to pull of the tons of moves that people want in the game. Stop being lazy asses and stop wanting everything so easy! LEARN THE DAMN GAME!

        • Skopin

          It’s not simple that I want. It’s intuitive. I should be able to differentiate between a double-cross and an in-and-out much easier than 2k makes it. I should be able to choose whether I cross over in front of me, between my legs, or behind my back, every time I cross over. Sadly, the only game that has ever offered that kind of control had too many other issues to be released.

          • Crimson

            You want to be able to choose how you crossover dribble? That’s what intuitive is to you? Excuse me for a second, I need to consult with the judges.

            Ok. We have a consistent ruling.

            We all agreed that that’s just the stupidest fucking thing we ever read. Please read your own comment again, and then go stuff some shitty toilet paper from the toilet of a public restroom, deep into your mouth until you’ve learned not to say anything so stupid again.

          • Skopin

            Being able to choose how to crossover is not intuitive. But the controls that let you do so can be. Say what you will about NBA Elite, but its dribbling controls were by far the most intuititive controls in any basketball game. Crossover, left to right or right to left. Behind the back, you move the joystick around toward your back. Between the legs, diagonally toward the way you want the ball to go. Yes, that IS intuititive. Do you know why? Because it makes sense.
            2k’s controls are far too complicated in the fact that you actually have to think for a second to remember exactly how to pull something off. So to do a spin layup I hold L2 and spin the right joystick, but I can’t do it at full sprint because for that I need to hold R2 which would cause me to dunk, but I need to make sure I am holding L2 otherwise I would go behind the back or whatever nonsense the control scheme is. Separating the hands and feet into 2 different joysticks would do wonders for the game. Then, you can just use the modifiers for the shotstick. At least, that would make sense.
            Intuitive means that the controls are what you would expect them to be if you had never played the game, or any like it, before. If I want my on-screen to character to perform X move, this would make sense how to do it.
            But feel free to keep coming up with stupid poop jokes because you can’t actually think of a good argument against me.

          • word_is_bond

            Why do wish to explain common sense to some one who apparently can’t see beyond 2k. I like playing 2k but the controls are crazy to keep up with and the game is animation heavy.

        • Crimson

          Exactly. The game controls are simple enough already. The bitches need to be playing “Backyard Basketball”, not NBA2K basketball.

  • Fuck EA!

    Why does EA even keep attempting this shit? GIVE IT UP ALREADY! The only chance EA has is if they could convince the NBA to give them an exclusive license like they did with Madden, lol!

    Good luck with that EA!

    • stevvvvvve

      if the nba does do that i think my sport gaming days are over

  • MoneyMayweather

    nothing’s confirmed a lil too early for a overreaction like this

    • Crimson

      You just said so yourself, nothing is confirmed. There is absolutely no marketing strategy for this game right now.. So…yeah. Its way past time to overreact.

  • Crimson

    That was very brave Pasta, but you told the truth. You did it. Don’t you feel soooo much better about yourself right now? You did it man. You really did it. Now, lets go over to Kotaku, and find that idiot Dymez and try and explain all this to him and his 2 dads.

  • 49ersfan1

    just buy nba 2k13

    • Abcdefghi

      Hell no, those games fucking suck

      • 49ersfan1

        what? nba 2k is 100000000 times better than nba live

        • AbcdefghiFcfagvgdwvgvs

          Nah man

          • 49ersfan1

            u must sit in ur room with ur poor nba live 10 that has that little baby on the cover and pee in a bottle crying cuz u got no nba 2k12!!

          • Abcdefghi

            NBA 2K12= $60 coaster

          • taking a dump

            Your opinion is the best 49ersfan thank you for enlightening us all.

  • Ed

    My condolences to NBA Live 13.


    • Lil’ Floyd

      Yeah, I sent EA a sympathy card yesterday, lol!

  • jz

    EA can’t even make a basketball game anymore. These are the people that make our football games. Explains alot why nothing ever changes. There was a time 10 years ago when EA was the best at sport games. Not anymore. They are the worst.
    Amazing how its 2012 and 10 years ago we had 3-4 different football games. Now we have nothing. I really hate the NFL. They know nothing about video games. Yet they decide our football game fate.

  • EA should just kill this, and put all their focus and resources into Madden and NCAA. They could both be outstanding games but they always fall short. Maybe the extra they have from Live… which will never be able to compete with 2K again…. will help people forget that they are being imprisoned with football games that have no form of competition due to an exclusive contracts with the NFL and NCAA.

  • Skihawks

    My issue with digital release only is that if the game isnt good now what? No trade value. A title that has gained consumer trust I could see the potential for digital purchases however I feel most gamers like the disc for future value alone.


    The day that games go strictly digital is the day I quit gaming just sayin.

  • Nomore2k

    Finally, a good basketball sim after 2 painful years.