EA Showing No Urgency for What May Be Make or Break Year for NBA Live

Posted October 15th, 2014 at 10:15 am


NBA Live 15 is due out in under two weeks and in just eight days it’ll be made available through EA Access on Xbox One. Most wouldn’t really know it though with the lack of promotion it has received and all attention going towards the competition. EA has largely shielded Live 15 from consumer. Rather than show off gameplay they’ve pushed screenshots and information like player ratings, team rankings and the soundtrack. 

When the series returned after a four year hiatus with Live 14 there was opportunity for EA Sports to launch on solid ground and build towards the future. The product though was a complete failure and in the process EA alienated the remaining few brand loyalists. Having to cancel Elite 11 and Live 13 was certainly an embarrassment for the company but it was one they could potentially overcome. They hadn’t taken money out of consumer’s pockets. They did with Live 14 though and left everyone who actually gave them another chance feeling ripped off.

That isn’t forgotten and you can see evidence of it in the lack of pre-orders the game has generated. No one has trust in the brand or EA’s promises at this point. On Amazon it currently ranks behind thousands of games in orders including basketball titles that are several years old.

As much as consumers beg for competition there no longer appears to be a market for it with the exception of the few massive sports. The NFL and FIFA could/can support two games and NBA would be the third. That’s why EA has stuck it out this long. 2K Sports has expanded the market for basketball games to where EA, even if they could just steal 20% of that, would have a mild success on their hands.

If EA was confident in the product they’d be showing it off because they have absolutely nothing to lose. They can only go up from here. That, or they’ve already decided to pack it in after Live 15 releases, which certainly wouldn’t be unimaginable. The three week delay screams of the developers asking for more time and EA saying all you get is three weeks. Not coincidentally that’s the latest they could release it without facing a penalty fee from the NBA.

Whether it has been in regards to the previous game cancellations or missed deadlines and promises relating to Live 15, it’s been a parade of apologies from EA (the now infamous “open letters”) which no one takes seriously anymore. The company at one point implied there would be a super early demo for the game – something I chose not to report because of their credibility issues – and lo and behold that didn’t materialize.

Even if NBA Live 15 turns out to be a decent game – something that EA has provided no reason to believe will happen yet – if no one cares enough to pay attention that’s the likely end of the series anyway. It’s hard to imagine the perception people have changing in the next week to two weeks. EA apparently doesn’t believe in the product so why would consumers?

It’s incredibly frustrating because yes, we would all like to have two good games to consider. It’s unfortunate then that EA here doesn’t appear to be as passionate about that as we are.