EA Sports last year infamously rebranded NBA Live as NBA Elite, only to cancel the whole game at the last minute. This left competitor NBA 2K as the sole simulation basketball game on the market, and it’s one that many fans would argue has been superior regardless. IndustryGamers recently chatted with EA’s Peter Moore (formerly EA Sports label president) about the challenge ahead in basketball.
It’s clear that EA Sports has no plans to give up just because they’ve taken some lumps on the court. 2K Sports’ NBA 2K series has been on a roll, but this year’s version could be hurt by the ongoing NBA lockout (perhaps as much as $40 million), so maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that EA doesn’t have an NBA simulation product this year. That said, Moore confirmed that the team at Tiburon already has an early version of the next NBA title up and running.
“We took a year off so that we can focus on building the quality that it needs to be. I know better than anybody, having helped build NBA 2K in my early days, the power of what Greg Thomas and Visual Concepts do. It’s their focus because, as you know, they’ve given up on NHL recently. NBA is the game that they need to focus on… when I think about 2K sports, it’s probably 80% of their portfolio from a unit basis and a revenue basis. It’s a great game, but we’re not walking off the court crying here,” Moore stressed to us.
“We’re focused on building a great game for next year. The team has got the time to be able to look at everything that we need to do to make sure that we bring quality back up and be competitive. So we can go over the whole story again from last year – it was unfortunate, but we’re a brand and a company and a label that is very focused on building quality and we’re not just going to walk away from it; we’ve got a very, very talented team that’s already got stuff up and running even though it won’t ship this year, it’ll go next year. So we’ll be back.”
Even if the quality can come close to what 2K Sports offers, there’s no denying that the NBA brand from EA Sports has taken a hit, and that alone could mean years of recovery time to win back the fans. Moore acknowledged this but he also relishes the challenge and has the utmost confidence in the team’s ability to build a very competitive NBA title.
“It’ll take a while to get back, yeah. It’ll take us a few years maybe, but if that’s what it takes, that’s what it’ll be. We’re in our 20th year as a label… We’re not a short term player. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’ll sit here 3, 4 years from now and hopefully we’ll be talking about what a great battle NBA 14 or 15 is versus their 14 or 15,” he concluded.