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Volume 25 No. 87
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EA Looks To Take Market Share From 2K Reintroducing NBA Live

Even as the predominant NBA video game franchise, NBA 2K, "releases its newest version, EA Sports seeks to reassert itself via its NBA Live title, attempting to regain relevance after a dismal near-decade that featured multiple years in which Electronic Arts did not even release a game annually," according to Noah Smith of the WASHINGTON POST. Once the premier, and essentially only, offering throughout the '90s, NBA Live "lost the bulk of its market share" to Take-Two Interactive’s NBA 2K franchise. That title "emerged as one of the top selling games, not just within the sports genre, but overall." NBA 2K sold "about 9 million titles" of the '17 edition and, for modern consoles, became the "top-selling sports game for titles based on a U.S.-based league." To use another metric, "NBA Live 18" has "about 65,500 followers on Twitch" while "NBA 2K18" has 2.5 million. The dynamic is a "reversal for a sports game market" that EA has "dominated with titles such as its Madden, FIFA and NHL." Now the question is whether EA can "regain its former status and challenge 2K’s throne." Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter "credited Take-Two’s deft strategy of heavily discounting games to secure market share in the mid-2000s." But despite this competitive gulf, the team at EA, led by veteran producer Mike Mahar, believes the NBA’s global fan base is "large enough to allow for at least two games." NBA Live has also "leaned into gender equality, with its exclusive inclusion of WNBA players and the ability to create female custom players." But EA has "much ground to make up, particularly when it comes to repairing its reputation." Despite EA’s innovations and Mahar’s "plucky attitude, industry observers are not convinced NBA Live is ready to be taken seriously" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 9/13).