While EA Sports publishes some of the top sports gaming franchises today, things are much less certain when it comes to the potential release of NBA Live 22.
The purported rival to the NBA 2K series has been cancelled in recent years, but can we expect NBA Live 22 to finally bring back the competition?
Latest - Luka Doncic lost as cover athlete?
As far back as 2019, NBA star Luka Doncic was named as the cover athlete for NBA Live Mobile, but that agreement may be over with.
With two console versions of NBA Live eventually cancelled, a new report indicates Doncic got fed up with the stagnation of the franchise.
Instead, he's apparently now signed a new deal with 2K Sports, and looks to be the favorite as the cover athlete for NBA 2K22.
NBA Live 22 Release Date
NBA Live 22 has no official release date, but with no cancellation announcement just yet, we still expect the game will enter development and release on schedule with previous releases (NBA Live 18, 19).
With this in mind, we expect NBA Live 22 will launch around late August of 2021.
As of now, NBA 2K22 is expected in early September of 2021, meaning NBA Live 22 could get a brief upper hand on them if the title is released early enough.
NBA Live 22 Early Access
NBA Live 22 will likely feature several methods of early access, including a demo, EA Play trial, and early access from specific NBA Live 22 editions.
If NBA Live 22 is on-schedule for a late August release date, we can expect a demo in early August, and EA Play trial offering 10 hours of gameplay a week before launch.
NBA Live 22 Next Gen
If EA push forward with NBA Live 22 development this year, there's all the room for it to be the series debut on next gen consoles, developed specifically for next gen hardware.
While EA have elected to not create a next gen specific edition for some sports titles like NHL 21, we don't expect this will be the case for a game developed almost entirely in the new year.
NBA 2K22 has been relatively quiet as well, and an eventual trailer will likely be our first look at the competition for a possible NBA Live 22 release.
NBA Live 21 Cancelled
Basketball gaming fans had high hopes for NBA Live 21 after EA were forced to cancel NBA Live 20 in 2019.
Unfortunately, another letdown is in store, as EA cancelled NBA Live 21 as well in 2020.
What does this mean for the series moving forward, and for the future of basketball sim gaming?
The Future of NBA Live
NBA Live has struggled to reach the heights of the NBA 2K series over the course of its existence, but it's offered a nice alternative that has improved on some elements of basketball sim gameplay.
Areas like commentary, arena designs, movement and more have been complimented by players throughout NBA Live's existence.
With a second NBA Live game in a row getting cancelled, however, fans are understandably down on the future of series.
One silver lining to NBA Live 21's cancellation, however, is that this isn't anything new for the NBA Live series.
The NBA Live series has a history of inconsistency in annual releases, running from 1994 to 2009, then from 2013 to 2015, and finally 2017 to 2018.
With this in mind, NBA Live 22 is still a possibility.
Will There Be More NBA Live Games?
With the NBA Live series' inconsistent past, we're less concerned about these game cancellations than many fans may be.
It's certainly a blow to NBA Live's place as competition, but we still expect more NBA Lives games to come in the future.
We expect that will start with NBA Live 22, which could be the series' debut on next gen consoles.
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