NBA Live 13 might make 2kSports step up it’s game
This past week Kotaku ran a story about how Electronic Arts formally defunct basketball series is having it’s Lazarus moment later this fall. Me being a huge basketball fan on both the real life and virtual planes got really excited by this news, why you ask? Because I believe this gives 2k sports the ability to do for basketball what EA never did with their football franchise. Let the other team onto the court.
In 2004 EA signed a exclusivity deal with the NFL that made it virtually impossible for any other company to make a NFL licensed game. This gave them a huge upper hand in the football market with their John Madden franchise and also helped to squash their biggest rivals who at the time were at the top of their game. NFL 2k5 was and is still regarded in many circles as the best football game ever made, the awesomeness of that game was born from years and years of a not-so-friendly rivalry . One that people on both sides up in arms about their favorite title ready to fight tooth and nail about who was best. It was a great time for talking trash and playing awesome games, seeing each game grow exponentially each year was exhilarating and made each company better. But this was only done possible through competition, competition that spurred both EA and 2k to pull out all the stops on all fronts.
Fast forward to 2011, on the heels of a so-so effort with NBA Live 10 EA finds itself behind in the B-Ball market, trailing 2k’s game by a bunch. People stopped looking at Live for it’s roundball tastes and in a last ditch effort they decided to rename the game to “NBA Elite“. Everything seemed to be heading towards the game regaining some semblance of it’s former prominence but then a Youtube video called “NBA Elite Jesus” appeared, went viral and shut down any hope the game had of being successful. Word spread to gamers about how buggy the demo was, the small amount also retail copies that were sold by street date breakers also had numerous issues as well. EA got word of all the bad publicity, quickly shut the game down and recalled the “loose” copies.
So here we are in 2012, after hearing this latest announcement I would think the happiest folks should be 2k, for the past couple of seasons they have been the best game on the block for many reasons. Their consistent drive to make the most realistic basketball simulation game has seen them take huge strides to make the NBA 2k series look and play like it’s true life counterpart. With all the accolades and awards that have befallen them, they now they have come to the same cross roads that EA did when they were on top of the mountain and have this question to ask themselves. “Do we still try to innovate, or do we stand pat for as long as the market will have us?” The Madden franchise of late has been slighted because of its lack of polish and new features, but through competition EA can put some fire under their rivals’ feet.
The 2k game although beautiful, well commentated and chock full of great gameplay still has blaring issues when it comes to it’s online features, and updated team information. If EA can control the online space while providing great gameplay with its own distinct identity, then the folks at 2k might have a fight on their hands. This is why competition is not only useful, but necessary in the effort to keep game developers bringing titles to market that both engage the audience and push the genre forward.
The NBA has still no exclusivity deals and I’m hoping this stays the case. I believe that when companies’ have the ability to look back and see someone over their shoulder, usually that is when you will see their best work. If you are like me, you love to see games and devs pushed to innovate, dream and perform.
Here is to hoping that NBA Live 13 is successful, and to the hope of seeing two competitive teams back on the court for us all to root for.