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What's EA's Next Move if the NBA's Out of Reach?

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What's EA's Next Move if the NBA's Out of Reach?

A few weeks back, 2K completed a licensing deal with the NBA reportedly worth over one billion dollars. So how is EA supposed to compete with 2K now that it feels like once more the NBA is out of reach for the company? Should EA continue to try and keep NBA Live relevant or pivot in some fashion to compete in the basketball genre? There are also other genres that EA could approach in order to grow moving forward. Let’s examine EA’s options below.

NCAA Sports

We’re all thinking it, and I’m saying it. NCAA sports. The recent mod of Madden 19 on PC is a perfect example that the community and sports gamers in general want NCAA Football back. It has been years since we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the excitement of college football. Imagine if it came back. We all understand the hurdles and issues of bringing it back, but the demand is certainly there.

Not only would the community openly welcome the NCAA Football franchise back, I feel comfortable saying the community wants more than just football. All NCAA sports games were great. While EA is succeeding with Madden and FIFA, the brand could use a boost elsewhere. College sports is where they could make that impact. NCAA March Madness/NCAA Basketball had its ups and downs as a series, but taking your team to a hostile environment in one of the toughest places to play was always a delight. Those are the types of exciting experiences we are missing these days.

If EA were to take the current NBA Live engine and convert it to NCAA March Madness, then it would be a good start for the series. I think people would buy it based on the fact that it’s an updated NCAA game. If EA could at least make a generic game open for full customization by the community at some point, there is a possibility this could work out.

MVP Baseball

EA could avoid the basketball genre as a whole and dip back into the baseball market. As MLB The Show is an exclusive title to PS4, EA can bring simulation baseball back to users of other consoles. There are many people who stick to Xbox for their exclusive content, and they do not have the luxury of enjoying a simulation baseball game. Although MLB The Show would be a difficult game to compete with, the fact is EA could have another baseball title on the market that would open the door for Xbox users to enjoy. Let’s face it, even a remastered version of MVP baseball could find some success. Gamers seem to enjoy the throwbacks. This could be one of them.

The One, Pro Am Tour, Live Run And Events

EA does have a generous number of avenues they can take to stay in the basketball genre. They can focus and expand on some of the other areas of NBA Live to create a great basketball experience. They could go with a drastic approach and remove the NBA season and franchise modes of the game. They could utilize all of their assets and focus on modes such as The One, Pro Am Tour and Live Run. They could re-create and expand a single-player story mode like those in Madden. The rest of the modes in NBA Live allow for some freedom that users enjoy. They include customization that EA could expand on to help users grow this experience and make it better, such as increasing the variety of locations and variety of customization options. I would like to see an an open-world basketball game where users could go from court to court, buy flashy cars and gear, and drive to each court on their own. They could play a variety of missions ranging from playing pick-up games or one-on-one in random areas of the open world. All in all, what users really like is the ability to customize and some freedom within the game.

Something Unexpected

What is something different? Should EA abandon the basketball genre and hit on something new? Obscure sports maybe? Return to a NFL Blitz, NBA Street, SSX or Skate? I think a variety of individuals could find great joy in a game where it’s just various random sports mashed into one collection.  Pop into EA Obscure Sports and play some competitive dodgeball with your user-created character or even include pro athletes. Or maybe some EA Roller Derby to spice things up. There should be no limit to what EA is considering now. Open up the flood gates to a wide variety of ideas and content to create the unexpected.

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  1. If EA is adamant about staying in the basketball market then I agree with going with the NCAA. EA could swap the NBA out with NCAA and continue what they have. They have something with online. The NBA side leaves a lot to be desired. However, with the NCAA, the players would be generic so there's not much really to update. The appeal of the collegiate schools could be enough to draw in interest. I know I'd preorder and buy just for that.
    I never thought about baseball, either. MVP baseball could have the entire Xbox market and even a few burned out Show players. They would face a similar challenge to Live overtaking 2K with basketball, but they would have the entire Xbox (maybe even Switch) market to get their roots planted and grow. I honestly think that this would be the safer route.
    That 15 year ESPN exclusive agreement expires next year. Just 86 a NBA and make a ESPN MLB game. Good luck competing with The Show, but baseball fits their games as a service "business" model more than the NBA and Xbox owners are sure to at least check it out. I love SMB, but I'd still love a traditional baseball franchise experience.
    Is anything stopping EA from making college games with generic rosters. If college hoops came back and each roster just said PG, SG, SF, PF, C and did not list any name, weight height etc,. Could this work using all of the licensed NCAA teams?
    Don't understand this article and the headline is misleading.
    Nowhere does it say that 2K has EXCLUSIVITY. The whole PR just refers to the deal as a "partnership" and makes some spacious claim that the deal COULD BE worth $1.1b. All that means is that they have some revenue sharing model in place.
    So unless I'm missing something there is no suggestion (other than from the author) that EA has been excluded in anyway shape or form from continuing the LIVE series.
    cingelsby
    Is anything stopping EA from making college games with generic rosters. If college hoops came back and each roster just said PG, SG, SF, PF, C and did not list any name, weight height etc,. Could this work using all of the licensed NCAA teams?
    No. They can license the NCAA and schools and have them in a game if they want. 2K did it with about a dozen schools for their MC story a few years ago. The players even had generic names. That's fine. I think the NCAA and schools are waiting for more clarity on player likeness and what constitutes what in the gaming space before jumping back in with both feet.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Operation Sports mobile app
    roswell0075
    Don't understand this article and the headline is misleading.
    Nowhere does it say that 2K has EXCLUSIVITY. The whole PR just refers to the deal as a "partnership" and makes some spacious claim that the deal COULD BE worth $1.1b. All that means is that they have some revenue sharing model in place.
    So unless I'm missing something there is no suggestion (other than from the author) that EA has been excluded in anyway shape or form from continuing the LIVE series.
    Its perfectly reasonable to wonder about Lives future. That was the case even before 2Ks new deal. The game is floundering sale wise and has this been this entire gen. They arent making any significant inroads. The NBA/NBAPA licensing isn't getting any cheaper. Its not that EA can't afford to pay it, it just is it worth it at this point.
    Sent from my SM-G950U using Operation Sports mobile app
    roswell0075
    Don't understand this article and the headline is misleading.
    Nowhere does it say that 2K has EXCLUSIVITY. The whole PR just refers to the deal as a "partnership" and makes some spacious claim that the deal COULD BE worth $1.1b. All that means is that they have some revenue sharing model in place.
    So unless I'm missing something there is no suggestion (other than from the author) that EA has been excluded in anyway shape or form from continuing the LIVE series.
    No one is saying that the license is exclusive. The debate is, is it worth it for EA to continue paying for the NBA license, especially if they have to pay what 2K paid them, for a game that's to be honest, not very successful. Or would EA be better off moving on from the NBA and concentrating on a new franchise.
    Go with NCAA basketball or MLB. Personally, I’m an Xbox User, so I’m more biased to Mlb. It is absolutely mind blowing that we haven’t had an mlb game in like 6+ years. I think MLB should hit the market before an ncaa game does. But I would hop on ncaa basketball for sure. Being at Pitt made me really miss those games... and those years as a fan
    Ugh...... The only reason 2k is paying the NBA that much is because of the money 2K makes on micro transactions. The NBA needs to get their share of it. Live ain't going anywhere and it's pathetic that someone is trying to even suggest that. OS after years of supporting this community I am just about done and it's articles like this that are pushing me out the door
    RayRay34
    Ugh...... The only reason 2k is paying the NBA that much is because of the money 2K makes on micro transactions. The NBA needs to get their share of it. Live ain't going anywhere and it's pathetic that someone is trying to even suggest that. OS after years of supporting this community I am just about done and it's articles like this that are pushing me out the door
    What makes you so sure NBA Live isn't going anywhere? Do you have inside information or something? Because since its return, Live has been pretty much a bust, including being cancelled in 2016/17. Why should EA keep throwing away money on this dead franchise? I wish I could bet some of you guys because I would be willing to bet "NBA" Live will not make it to the next console generation.
    As much as I would love for them to dedicate more resources into the NHL series, that isn't going to happen.
    EA has a prime opportunity to be the one that gets us back into NCAA sports games. I would pay double for a new NCAA Football game and wouldn't even touch Madden anymore, personally. I admittedly don't know ALL of the ins and outs of the lawsuit that halted production previously, but if there's any workaround, it would be great. I can't imagine this not being a massive moneymaker for them with so many college sports fans starving for new games.
    Surprised EA hasn’t considered dipping back into Rugby Union games. Maybe it’s not on the radar of many US players, but it has a large following worldwide.
    The game has expanded massively over the last decade and figure now would be a good time with the 2019 World Cup. Especially since it’s taking place in Japan and tapping into that growing market.
    Go back to boxing and bring back fight night.
    Bring back MVP baseball
    or tough it out and keep NBA live beef up that team and give it more resources.
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