NBA Live 20: Is there any hope for EA’s struggling basketball title?

The NBA season is fast approaching and the EA typical release date is long gone.


NBA 2k20 has been out for over a month and the NBA season is just over a week from starting, yet there is still no NBA Live game from EA Sports. Is there any hope for a release and how have we gotten to this point?

Early in July, EA Sports were believed to be targeting Luka Doncic for the cover of NBA Live 20, hoping he would help boost sales of the struggling NBA Live series in the European region.

However, come the end of the month EA made an announcement stating that NBA Live was to be delayed until late 2019 as they were planning a ‘different approach’ to the game.

With the gap between EA’s NBA Live and its competitor 2K Sports’ NBA 2K getting bigger and bigger year upon year, this had led fans to question whether or not we will see another edition of NBA Live.

But where have EA gone so wrong and is there a way back for the title?

READ MORE: Which NBA 2K20 edition should you buy?

Where did it start?

It is believed that the 2K dominance started back in 2008 when EA’s NBA Live 2008 delivered an underwhelming gaming experience to its fans, leading some to jump ship to the up and coming 2K franchise.

As 2K’s rise continued through the ’09, ’10 and ’11 versions of the game, EA struggled to keep up. With them then canceling NBA Live 12 and 13, it was clear there was a firm fan favorite between the two titles.

A sales comparison between NBA 2K18 and NBA Live 18 

The release of NBA Live 14 was highly anticipated. With EA taking a two-year sabbatical to improve the game and with promises of a new ignite engine amongst other features, fans thought this could be the turning point in the rivalry.

However, the game flopped massively and NBA Lives struggles continue to this day.

READ MORE: New NBA 2K20 Legendary Teams: All-Decade Teams 1980s & 1990s

Game Modes

2K’s game modes are another factor which helps it to stand out from NBA Live.

In recent years, game mode additions such as MyLEAGUE, MyGM and fan favorite MyPARK has kept NBA games fans glued to the 2K series.

2K have always been famed for their career mode formats and whilst you may expect the MyCAREER to outperform NBA Live’s The One, what cannot be justified is the lack of effort EA have put into their NBA Live Ultimate Team.

NBA Live’s Ultimate Team has failed to live up to its expectations

As fans of EAs football title FIFA will know, Ultimate Team is one of the hottest game modes in any sports game, period.

However NBA Live has not lived up to that hype. Whilst a rejuvenated NBA Live Ultimate Team would definitely bring in a bunch of new players, EA seem reluctant to do so.

Is there an opportunity to catch up?

Yes, 100% yes! 2K Sports is far from perfect. Anyone who’s played NBA 2K will know that the servers are horrendous and the micro-transactions in the form of VC are nothing but a money-making scheme to line the pockets of those at 2K Sports.

Many fans feel micro-transactions are ruining the game. 

But while fans are fed up of those things, amongst many others, NBA Live continues to labor behind and make no inroads, fans feel they have little choice but to continue to back the 2K series.

What next for NBA Live?

NBA Live has some serious work to do.

Disillusioned fans and an ever expanding 2K series has made life difficult for those at EA’s HQ, and if they release an NBA title this year it will have to be a significant improvement from its predecessor.

It’s been almost a month since any information was posted on EA Sports NBA Live twitter page,  whilst nothing at all has been posted regarding NBA Live 20 or its supposed delay.

It was possible EA were waiting for the Gamescom, which took place from August 20th – August 24th, to release any more information. They weren’t, as they released no information about the game, which really didn’t seem like a good sign.

Now into October there has still been no update from EA. However, in late September, footage of a twitter user named @skyblueordie wearing motion capture gear dunking appeared. He responded to a question about NBA Live 20 by saying the gameplay is ‘crazy good’ and it had been being worked on for ‘four years’. He added the gameplay is ‘direct control’ like in EA’s FIFA titles.

While there is little to corroborate this evidence, when coupled with NBA Live appearing on EA’s financial report and an Instagram post hinting at the game’s soundtrack being developed, there is still life in the NBA Live series.

With EA maintaining its silence on NBA Live, fans can be rightfully worried and cautious of any game actually being released. And now it is especially fair to question whether releasing a game this late would even be worth it. But, if EA’s few statements and the other evidence is taken to be true, maybe EA are making sure they have the best possible product, which is reason to be optimistic.

READ MORE: NBA 2K 20 Legendary Teams: NBA All-Decade Teams 2000s & 2010s


Tom Young

20 year old student currently studying Sports Journalism at the University of South Wales.

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