EA Sports has been unable to recover from the attempted reboot of NBA Live as NBA Elite while at the same time seeing their competition flourish to become a juggernaut. It’s been six years but the company has yet to produce a compelling quality product since that fiasco and in the process consumers have lost all confidence in the Live brand. The series can’t escape its past.
Knowing that a shake-up was necessary EA yesterday confirmed the first report of Live being pushed back to 2017. Despite that acknowledgement uncertainty will continue to surround the series as there’s no guarantee it will again see the light of day on consoles. If it makes itÂ back as currently scheduled the form in which it does could be very different than what consumers have become accustomed to with traditional annualized sports games.
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The NBA Live series has struggled to regain its footing since the disaster of a reboot named NBA Elite 11, cancellation of NBA Live 13, and awful NBA Live 14. While the quality of the series has climbed back to being acceptable it simply isn’t even a blip on the radar of consumers. The latest release, NBA Live 16, sold just 8K copies in its first week of release compared to NBA 2K16 which moved well over a million in the same amount of time.
It wasn’t a question of if EA Sports would change their strategy with the basketball series but when. That time appears to be at hand as the company reported fourth quarter 2016 financials and in their presentation listed NBA Live for Q4 2017 release (January-March 2017).
It’s also notable that the game is listed as just NBA Live and not NBA Live 17. This could be the experiment some have been waiting for where a game becomes a service, and potentially even free-to-play. EA’s FTP mobile sports games don’t carry titles with years attached either. Request for comment has been sent in and this article will be updated should one be provided.
[Update] EA Sports has confirmed the delay: “WeÂ are committed toÂ NBA LIVEÂ in the console space. While we wonâ€™t be shipping a product this Fall, we will be back on the courts with something new and exciting for you to experience in early 2017…Our focus this year is to deliver an amazing, high-quality basketball game to a global audience. The best way to do that is through the fastest growing, largest, and most accessible gaming platformâ€¦mobile.”
The fourthÂ EA SportsÂ game to have originally releasedÂ in 2015Â has reached the Vault in EA Access. Madden NFL 16Â was added in February, NHL 16 in March, and FIFA 16 in April. Rory McIlroy PGA Tour has now joinedÂ them and all other games from the publisher to have come outÂ earlier this generation.
EA Access is currently exclusive to Xbox One with Sony decliningÂ to offer the service on PS4. For $30 a year or $5 month-to-month, members get unlimited access to the back library of EA games on the console which in addition to all the sports titles includeÂ the likes of Battlefield Hardline, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Titanfall. Thereâ€™s also the 10 hour trials with every EA game that begin five days before release and 10% savings on all digital purchases whether it be the actual games or microtransactions within them.
The final EA Sports game from last yearÂ to make its way to EA Access will be NBA Live 16. That one is scheduled to go in on May 25.
Additionally a new patch went out today for McIlroy that introduces another new course to the game. “Renowned for its panoramic beauty,Â The Fairmont Banff Springs Golf Course in Alberta is a captivating and challenging layout set in the heart of Canada’s Rocky Mountains.” Its additionÂ brings the total to 14 real-world courses featured in the game.
The cover athlete for Madden NFL 17 has been described as a “phenom” by EA Sports and will be announced on Thursday. Given that the company has specifically chosen the individual this year, instead of putting it to a fan vote as was the case with the previous six editions in the series, that in itself could provide a hint at who the player will be.
Cam Newton should still be considered the favorite, and with public opinion having turned against him following the Super Bowl that would be one explanation why EA may have felt it necessary to avoid the vote. Other possibilities would include recently retired legendsÂ or someone representing an inspirational story.
Check out the full list of primaryÂ candidates for the cover of Madden NFL 17, and the odds that I’ve placed on them, in the piece over on Sporting News today!
For the first time since 2009 the cover of Madden will not be determined via fan vote. EA Sports has selected a cover athlete for Madden NFL 17 and the announcement will be made on the 6PM ET/3PM PT SportsCenter this Thursday, May 12.
The favorite for the cover would still be league MVP Cam Newton, which could explain why EA would pass on a cover vote as he’d be unlikely to win one given the backlash towards him sinceÂ the Super Bowl. He’s also already lost the cover vote twice before. Von Miller is another possibility, but he would be a risky choice given past off-the-field issuesÂ and being just one drug test away from a full year-long suspension.
The first gameplay trailer for Madden 17 will also debut during the broadcast, however not much should be expected out of that besides probably some flashy highlights of the cover athlete in question. More substance will be coming in the lead-up to E3 next month. Madden NFL 17 will release on August 23 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.
The Line Drive is a weekly collection of news, links, deal alerts, and updates that didnâ€™t necessarily warrant their own postings.
â™¦Looking at the additional incoming rookies that have been added to Madden NFL 16.
â™¦Winners and losers coming out of the NFL Draft for Madden NFL 17.
â™¦Bryce Harper is now the third 99 Overall Rated player in MLB The Show 16.
â™¦EA Sports put out an infographic showing the rise in popularity of Leicester City in FIFA.
â™¦It looks like Forza 6 will be getting a Nascar expansion in the near future.
â™¦A fourth trailer with gameplay footage for Dangerous Golf has gone out.
â™¦The latest patch for NBA 2K16 that went out on PS4 has also now gone out on Xbox One.
â™¦The new issues created with the latest patch in MLB The Show 16 have yet to be fixed.
â™¦Rory McIlroy PGA Tour may be getting another new course as early as this week.
â™¦NBA Live 16 will be going into the EA Access Vault on May 25.
â™¦For the first time since 2009 this year’s Madden cover won’t be determined by vote.
â™¦Details on the fifth patch to have gone out for Out of the Park Baseball 17.
â™¦Amazon Prime members can still pre-order either edition of NBA 2K17 for 20% off.
â™¦Blu-ray releases this week are headlined by Deadpool.
The third special pack to release during the regular season is now available for a limited time in MLB The Show 16. For 3,000 Coins it contains six player cards with an “increased chance” at the top performers from April plus Gold and Diamond cards.
As with the first two packs it’s very questionable whether anyone should risk their coins on these given the nature of the supposed increased odds, not having the two item cards found in standard packs, and being three times the price. If this pack was priced more reasonably say around 2,000 it would probably be worth the gamble. However the smarter move likely remains buying more of the standard packs instead or just spending directly on cards in the Marketplace.
A second roster update this week forÂ MLB The Show 16 went out earlier today and again includes some significant ratings changes.
Three players have moved up to 96 Overall. Nolan Arenado (+3), Jose Altuve (+2), and Manny Machado (+2).
Other notables include Ryan Braun (+4 to 90), Sonny Gray (-3 to 89),Â Dallas Keuchel (-3 to 88),Â Starling Marte (+2 to 88),Â Xander Bogaerts (+3 to 87), Taijuan Walker (+4 to 85), Adam Jones (-3 to 83),Â Gregory Polanco (+5 to 81),Â Kendrys Morales (-5 to 78),Â Corey Dickerson (-4 to 78), andÂ Brandon Drury (+12 to 75).
The biggest new rookie added to the game is Tigers’ starting pitcher Michael Fulmer, who comes in rated 68 Overall with A Potential.