There are a few things in life that are as consistent as the waxing and waning of the moon and one of them is a yearly dose of an NBA game for EA Sports. Sure, there have been years when the publisher bowed out of a release but that’s all in the past, right? Not quite because, apparently, NBA Live 20 isn’t coming this season, which is to say it won’t be coming at all. Instead, EA is practically promising the heavens and beyond for the still unannounced next-gen consoles.
There are, of course, other NBA games to be played, like the rivaling NBA 2K franchise which is becoming notorious for those dreaded microtransactions. That said, when you’ve canceled four annual installments in the span of 10 years, some might wonder if something’s up over at EA Sports. Nothing at all, according to EA CEO Andrew Wilson. In fact, it’s all for the players’ future good.
In both the company’s Q2 2020 earnings call and a subsequent tweet, EA’s official reason for not releasing the game this season basically boils down to preparing for the future. Specifically, it is promising something new and fresh for the “next generation of players and platforms”, which is to say the next generation of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles. And since those have not yet been launched, EA wants to take its time to get things ready.
NBA Live 20, which was supposed to launch earlier this year, was already delayed. Its cancellation definitely doesn’t bode well for the company or at least its image. Then again, EA has made quite a few interesting changes in the past years so fans might actually be cautiously excited about what’s in store when the next Live comes out.
Interestingly, this announcement comes at a time when a growing number of high-profile games are announcing their delays, though primarily to help keep developers sane rather than add new features for upcoming consoles. For an industry notorious for its crunches and almost unrealistic working conditions, that change in culture and mindset is long overdue. Whether that applies to the fourth canceled NBA Live or not, however, only EA knows.