NBA Live 20 has been delayed

Posted July 30th, 2019 at 8:15 pm

It had become apparent in recent weeks that something was going on with NBA Live 20. Despite a nearing release date the game had not been officially announced or made available for preorder. Additionally the NBA Live website had been been completely scrubbed and contained only a single static non-game image and a roster update with next season’s transactions was pushed out in Live 19 which typically would have been held for the next edition.

The reasoned speculation was put to rest today when EA Sports made it official that NBA Live 20 has been delayed. The plan now is to release it Q3 2019 which would be October through December. Given the holiday season and intense competition for dollars at that time there isn’t really an ideal window for the game to land where it can get any traction with consumers.

The next question then is whether this “delay” will just act as a deferred cancellation. Given the history of the series that is the conclusion that would be most expected. NBA Elite 11 was delayed before it was cancelled. NBA Live 13 was delayed before it was cancelled. NBA Live 17 was delayed before it was cancelled.

However what’s being described by EA as a “different approach” to NBA Live this year could hint at a radical distribution strategy that could keep NBA Live, well, alive. One plan could be for the company to offer NBA Live 20 completely as a free-to-play game. The problem is that contractually that may not be a possibility and it would be understandable that the NBA’s favored partner Take Two/2K Sports would complain over that arrangement being allowed. The other option that comes to mind is to offer it free but isolated within a paid EA Access subscription but similar conflicts could arise in that scenario as well.