EA Sports Once Again Shelves Plans To Release Title Under "NBA Live" Franchise
EA Sports said late Thursday it will not release a title for its troubled basketball franchise "NBA Live" at all this year, extending its absence from the simulation basketball gaming market to a third full year. The video game publisher announced plans two weeks ago to delay a retail release of "NBA Live 13" from an expected early October date after continued problems with the game surfaced. Following further review, company officials elected to sit out the entire year and instead focus on developing "NBA Live 14" for release in fall '13. "Making great games is not easy, and we're just not there yet," EA Sports Exec VP Andrew Wilson said in a statement. "Having continued to look at the game over the past few days, it's clear that we won't be ready. ... I'm disappointed we have not yet met our high expectations with 'NBA Live,' but I remain motivated about where we're going." The further setback for EA Sports with "NBA Live" arrives after the company spent two years and an undisclosed eight-figure sum seeking to retool the title following a similar cancellation of "NBA Elite 11." Steps pursued then included a shift of game production from its EA Canada studio outside Vancouver to its Tiburon facility in Orlando, the arrival of a new development team and the signing of a multiyear license extension with the NBA. Such efforts, however, have failed to generate any lasting momentum or retail-ready product. Rival publisher 2K Sports, maker of highly popular "NBA 2K" series, in recent weeks conversely has aligned with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and two U.S. men's Olympic basketball teams, further building buzz for its title. The NBA, for its part, remains steadfastly behind its long-term business partner despite the recurring issues. "We are obviously disappointed that EA will not be releasing 'NBA Live 13' this year," said NBA spokesperson John Acunto. "We have been assured by EA that the next release of 'NBA Live' will meet our mutual standards of excellence." EA Sports officials declined to comment when asked about potential leadership changes to the "NBA Live" development team.
BIG DAY FOR SOCCER TITLE: EA Sports also announced it sold 353,000 copies of "FIFA Soccer 13" in North America on its launch day Tuesday, up 42% compared to the release day of last year's edition. Users of the title also played more than 1.4 million games in the initial 24 hours of release, up 35% compared to the same period last year. The initial sales numbers continue a recent run of momentum for the company following strong starts for "Madden NFL 13" and "NHL 13," though sales have comparatively lagged for "NCAA Football 13." "FIFA Soccer 13" will release globally Friday with more than 1.3 million pre-orders already recorded.