Wednesday, September 12, 2012

NBA Live 2013: Digital Download?

So, the interweb has been buzzing this week [okay-buzzing may be a bit of an exaggeration] with the rumor that Electronic Arts reboot of its NBA Live franchise may be released as a digital download later this Fall.  Now, since I'm not all high and mighty and connected to the insiders of the video gaming and technology community, I can't confirm anything at this point, but I can say I've read a ton of articles and blogs and am confident that what I see is true.  The good news is, I'm not alone in my observations of what appears to be pretty solid rumors regarding EA's next move.

As a long-fan of EA sports basketball titles dating back to Jordan Vs. Bird, I will be the first to admit that my heart was torn from my chest when NBA Elite 11 was tabled due to quality and performance issues.  Finally, all of the NBA 2k fans had something legitimate to sink their teeth into, which in my world is the equivalent to getting a consoled by somebody that just beat me up - nothing about that is cool.  On the other hand, EA pulling the plug with a little over week from the release date of NBA Elite 11 also demonstrated EA's commitment to a quality product - to which I am truly thankful even though it was at the expense of being clowned by NBA 2K loyalists for the last two years.

All things considered, I am rather pleased that Electronic Arts may release NBA Live 13 as a digital download.  Already, many uninformed haters are doing their celebratory hater shuffle dance as they view EA's strategy as a fail.  Little do they realize, this may in fact be the best course of action the company could take to reboot a game that will be heavily scrutinized upon its release.  In fact, I think this approach may launch a new trend for game-makers who are exploring new technology or attempting to repair flawed games.

By going digital only, EA fully opens the door to update the game while it's in the wild.  Yes, it is a common practice for companies to release patches and updates to disc based games and has been a done for quite some time, but with a completely digital download, EA has the ability to make massive changes if needed.  Now, I'm not a game coder but I do understand the language as it relates to game engines, physics and a few other basic elements and know enough to understand that some parts of a disc based game are static and simply can't be redone, only tweaked and adjusted.  100% digital changes things.

As a gamer I have to applaud EA for taking advantage of today's technology to refine it's product.  I think long-time NBA Livers will appreciate the opportunity to offer feedback and possibly see changes rather quickly thanks to the liquidity of this year's game.  For EA sports, this strategy will be pivotal in reclaiming the legions of NBA Live fans that were forced to switch to NBA 2K for the last three seasons.  EA will have the opportunity to tweak and adjust things on the fly then apply lessons learned to future games so they never experience a debacle like this again.

My hope is that NBA Live 13 turns out to be amazing and makes video game ballers re-assess their loyalties.  I also want all the Live haters to know that it can happen to you, so don't get too comfortable in your hater gators and fur coats.  It only takes one great [terrible] idea to ruin your relationship with your favorite game - remember when the shotstick and isomotion first debuted?  #Crickets #DropsMic #WalksoffStage #StunnedCrowed #StartMyLimo


Note:  I have seen the leaked 10-minute footage of actual gameplay.  I have no plans to go running into the streets screaming and have confidence that EA will release a very clean product this Fall.

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