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Electronic Arts again scraps plans for NBA video game

Prominent video game developer Electronic Arts is once again scrapping plans to release a simulation National Basketball Association video game in the next year, continuing a checkered history for its NBA Live game franchise.

The company, also maker of the popular Madden NFL and FIFA game franchises, has long struggled with NBA Live, as it annually lags far behind rival series NBA 2K from Take-Two Interactive in both sales and cultural relevance. NBA 2K each year is typically the best-selling sports video game in the US.

Multiple prior issues with its NBA game forced EA to not issue an annual release of the gaming console-based title three times over the past decade, though it did release on-time and well-received versions of NBA Live in 2017-18 that also incorporated Women’s National Basketball Association players for the first time.

But EA confirmed October 29 in a quarterly earnings report that 2020 will mark a fourth such absence for NBA Live in 10 years.

“We had been working on an innovative new direction for our game timed with the All-Star weekend [in February], an experience designed around new ways for players to engage, connect, and create through basketball,” said EA chief executive Andrew Wilson. “Now, with greater understanding of the new [gaming] platforms and what they can power, bringing social connection, accessibility, and player creativity to the forefront, we feel we can go so much further with the new design. So we’ve decided not to ship an NBA Live game in Fiscal Year 2020.”

More details on a revamped NBA Live are expected next year.