NBA Live 09 365 Details

Posted July 14th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

EA Sports has just revealed the “ground-breaking” feature for NBA Live 09 that will “change the way sports games are made”. Known as NBA Live 365, the feature will update Live 09 daily with the latest statistics and the game will interpret that with changes to player ratings and tendencies. Through an exclusive agreement, Synergy Sports Technology will be providing the data from every game played on a daily basis.

No longer are you stuck playing a game based on what happened last year, instead you’ll have the ability to play with up-to-that-date information that will reflect on how the game plays in standard play now and online games, as well as what you can begin your dynasty with. Synergy tracks every game on a possession by possession basis. At this time that includes only the tracking of offense and not defense. Not only are stats kept but player tendencies based on what is done every time they get the ball. The whole idea is to keep the game “fresh” throughout the year.

Each player (and subsequently team) will have their own “DNA”. That is based on the following categories: isolation, pick and roll-ball handler, pick and roll -roll man, post up, spot up, off-ball screen, and cuts. How much a player does that in real life will be reflected in how much then do it in the game.

In addition to the “Hot Spots” that you can display while playing (this year being outlined sections instead of solid colored) will be tendency indicators. When pulled up you’ll see the ball handlers tendency from the spot on the floor they are in. The percentage they’ll drive right, drive left, or shoot.

One thing the producers stressed is that tendencies are sometimes realized as being dependent on how a defense attacks a particular player. Just because someone has a tendency to shoot from a specific spot on the floor doesn’t necessarily mean they are great from that spot. It could be they shoot more from that area because that is what the defense is giving them.

The main example used to explain 365 was the Boston Celtics. Here you had players like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen who filled very different roles with their teams in 2007 as compared to how they played on the Celtics in 2008, and Paul Pierce who adapted to them arriving. Ray Allen became more of a spot-up jump shooter and Kevin Garnett worked more out of the post. Because of 365, they would play much differently in game than they had the previous year thanks to the new data.

Another benefit is when it comes to rookies. Instead of guessing how they’ll play and just being able to adjust ratings, now real info will be used to update them throughout the year to play true to life. In the example of Jamario Moon, who was unable to be added to the game last year, a generic player would be added the day following someone’s first appearance. After that the Live team will be able to edit that generic player (or the user can themselves) to get their likeness correct for the rest of the year. After a few appearances the data should start to shape how that individual plays.

Something that ties in with 365 is the “NBA Live Rewind”. This is actually the aspect that I feel may have the most widespread appeal, though the others in attendance seemed to dismiss it going as far as to ask why time was spent on it (apparently very little as it just uses data that was already available). You’ll be able to replay any game from last season or the current one. Games are expected to be available for replay the very next day. Not only will this have every game available but you’ll be playing them with AI specific to that game alone. And if certain players were injured at the time of the game, or trades were made since then, it won’t matter. The players who were on the roster at the time of that game will be available. This mode will present something unique for every game you “rewind”.

At the community event it was literally two hours of going through, displaying, and Q&A around 365. Once a certain point was reached I somewhat lost interest in it though. I’m just not that detail oriented I suppose, I just want the game to feel right when playing it. At this point it is unknown if this feature will deliver on that.

Later in the discussion it was noted that this is activated via code that will be found in the game’s case. Essentially they are “giving away” the feature for free to those who buy it, and anyone who rents it or purchases it used will have to purchase a code off of XBL/PSN. It was noted however that the updated 365 is automatically used for online play regardless of having the code or not. This became a hot topic amongst those in attendance as basically it looks as though this will be a feature that will be charged for in future years. It’ll be interesting to see if consumer reaction is that the feature is valuable enough that they would pay extra for it. I’m not convinced that is going to be the case.

While this feature is very much something the hardcore crowd will find value in, I feel as though most gamers are just going to consider it to be a daily roster update. However even just as that it would be a welcome addition.