SBD/September 14, 2012/Media

Taking A Time Out: EA Sports Delaying Release Of "NBA Live 13" Game Indefinitely

Some in industry think "NBA Live 13" will be released only as a digital-download
EA Sports late Thursday said it was indefinitely delaying the release of its basketball video game, "NBA Live 13," providing another setback for the troubled title. EA Sports is attempting to challenge the highly popular "NBA 2K" series from 2K Sports after two years away from the simulation basketball gaming market. But EA execs said Thursday their game was not yet ready. They did not say when it would be, what the current problems are, or address growing industry speculation "NBA Live 13" will eventually be released only as a digital-download title. "Many fans have been anticipating an early October launch, but our plan is to release at a later date," EA Sports said in a statement. "We will share more information in the future." EA Sports performed the same delay tactic two years ago with "NBA Elite 11," also beset with significant problems, before ultimately shelving the title altogether. Following that move, EA Sports committed an undisclosed eight-figure sum to shift development of its basketball game from its EA Canada studio outside Vancouver to its Tiburon facility in Orlando, build a new production team, sign a new licensing deal with the NBA, revert to the "NBA Live" brand name for the game and take two years building a new product. Following those moves, some optimism existed this past spring around the forthcoming "NBA Live 13." But over the summer, as further news of a cover athlete and other game features were expected, EA Sports instead stayed silent on the title. During that period, 2K Sports made several major announcements for "NBA 2K 13," including the enlistment of Jay-Z as Exec Producer and the signing of both the '92 and '12 U.S. men's Olympic basketball teams to be in the game. "NBA 2K 13" will be released on Oct. 2 (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

APPLES & ORANGES: EA Sports on Thursday released the first trailer for "NBA Live 13," and ESPN.com's Jon Robinson wrote that showed "why the game needs to be delayed." Robinson: "Watch the 'NBA Live 13' trailer, then watch the 'NBA 2K 13' video and tell me how these two games are even playing in the same league. Makes me wonder if 'NBA Live 13' will ever come out at all" (ESPN.com, 9/13).

PRE-ORDERS UP FOR SOCCER TITLE: EA Sports said Friday they have received more than 875,000 pre-orders for its upcoming soccer title, "FIFA Soccer 13," set to release Sept. 25 in North America. The pre-order total is up 37% in Europe and up 62% in North America compared to a similar point last year. An online demo of the game has been downloaded by 1.99 million people in 73 countries, up from 28% compared to last year's demo release (Fisher).
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