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Why Having the WNBA in NBA Live 18 Matters

NBA Live 18

Why Having the WNBA in NBA Live 18 Matters

I could share my thoughts on why it’s important NBA Live 18 has decided to be the first basketball video game to include teams and players from the WNBA, but they shouldn’t really matter all that much. The fact that I’m another male writer trying to explain the significance of this tells you all that you really need to know.

It’s hardly any secret that since their advent, the assumption has been that video games have been predominantly played by men. The fact is, though, that more and more women these days are picking up controllers and identifying as gamers. An Entertainment Software Association report from last year found that 41 percent, or nearly half, of all gamers are female. But another report earlier this year by Nick Yee, co-founder of game analytics company Quantic Foundry, determined that just 2 percent of all sports video game players are women. This puts sports games at the very bottom of the list of genres that women enjoy playing.

Why is this? Clearly, there are plenty of women out there who enjoy playing and watching sports. The easiest explanation, of course, would be that women simply don’t see themselves being represented in many of the sports titles, especially when it comes to the big ones like baseball, football, hockey and basketball. This is why it makes sense for EA to want to rectify this glaring issue by bringing the WNBA into the fold with NBA Live 18, thereby allowing women to utilize players of their own sex for the first time.

While this can be viewed then as a shrewd move by EA to take a stab at catering to a neglected demographic, it’s also a bit of a gamble by both sides that sees them betting on each other. The NBA Live series has obviously floundered as of late, with EA opting to not even release a console game last year, so they are looking for any sort of advantage they can get over the more established NBA 2K series. On the other hand, the WNBA has always suffered from being in the shadow of the NBA and could use their inclusion in NBA Live 18 to raise their profile a bit. However, the danger for EA here is that the decision to include women could deter some of the more misogynistic basketball fans from buying the game, and for the WNBA there’s the inherent risk of partnering with the lesser basketball series.

There’s also the fact that even as EA announced plans to include the WNBA in NBA Live 18, it came with the caveat that you would only be able to play with its teams in the Play Now mode. This means that there will be no available option of starting a WNBA franchise (or a career with a woman player, for that matter) and taking your favorite team all the way to the finals. There’s no denying that this sends a bit of a mixed message that while the WNBA is considered prominent enough by EA to warrant inclusion in the game, it’s still not deemed important enough to have women be able to play any sort of meaningful games with long-term significance outside of an online play now arena.

I suppose it’s best to look at the partnership as something as a trial run (sort of like with the Women’s World Cup in FIFA), and only time will tell if it’s one that merits more exploration. Ideally, EA finds that there are so many women playing its game and enjoying the option of playing as women in the WNBA that the demand is great enough to see them releasing a standalone WNBA game. On a smaller scale, it would be wonderful even if this were to just serve as a gateway to women enjoying more sports games in general. Because as much as I like sharing my own opinions on this matter and all others related to sports gaming, it’s certainly a subject that’s sorely lacking a female perspective.

Editors Note: This article originally incorrectly stated you could not take WNBA teams online. We apologize for the error and have corrected our mistake.

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  1. totally agree!
    i remember when gta 3 san andreas came out - was so much fun to play with a main character i could relate to more so than other games (yea im black, but not a gang member lol).
    i think thats why games that let you create your own character are so popular. you can make your character to replicate yourself or whomever else you want. i played 2k and live 16 with TONS of women. theyre main complaint is "why cant i create a female? we hoop too!"
    ive said it before, if they allow female created players to be used online - GAME CHANGER
    Agree bredfan... there's no reason to not allow you to play a WNBA season out.  Think about the various type of seasons you can play in FIFA, can't be that hard to do.
    Rockie_Fresh88
    I wonder why they didn't include women in online play ?
    Missed opportunity there ...

    It does have its own H2H matchmaking. Did you not read the official blog?

    Sent from my F3113 using Tapatalk
    They probably just wanted to get the WNBA in the game first. They had a lot else working on at the same time. I'm sure they'll implement more with it in '19. Should definitely have ability to create a female character.
    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
    Very similar to how EA handled women in FIFA, much hype little actual depth to it. FIFA does not have the women's world cup and it's kick off and mini-tournament only. And they can't be bothered to include African teams. 
    I'm actually looking forward to the varied game play in this mode. Of course the improvement and recognition of women in sports is great but I think it could be a good way to enjoy the more technical version of ball the women play. passing and shooting and less power ball.
    However, the danger for EA here is that the decision to include women could deter some of the more misogynistic basketball fans from buying the game

    LOL I'm quite sure EA is fine with sexist idiots not buying their product.
    Probably the coolest addition to any sports game I've seen in a long time. Seriously awesome that they added this. Even more awesome that it looks like they took their time with it and didn't do it on a last second basis.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    i play ps4 with 3 females, almost everyday. theyre my wifes psn friends from gta online but i got them hooked on 2k16. they dont watch basketball and have never played in real life however ive been able to teach them basketball through videogames. its funny hearing them cuss somebody out for not picking up there man after a pnr switch lmao!
    they have a group of about 18-20 women/girls in their psn group. almost all have said theyre getting live becuase of the wnba addition. i gotta believe there are more who will do the same?
     I'm glad they included this, but I don't think there will ever be a time where the WNBA gets its own game. I feel like something like this is it's ceiling unfortunately. 
    BBallBryan23
    *I'm glad they included this, but I don't think there will ever be a time where the WNBA gets its own game. I feel like something like this is it's ceiling unfortunately.*

    not until the talent pool improves. once more women around the globe start playing basketball, the talent pool will grow. for those of you old enough - the nba has come A LOOONG way. thanks to magic/bird and jordan with the commercialization of basketball (endorsments) the nba is what is today. but it took decades to build the league as we know it. its gonna be the same for the wnba
    on the flip side supporters of the wbna are gonna have to understand that professional sports are entertainment. you cant "PC/guilt" folks into watching your product, becuase theyll never respect the league - only pity it. once the wnba has its first megastar (which i think mya moore is already it but they are mishandling her imo) things will change
    nike (specifically nike cause they run the sports apparel biz) should come out with a mya moore shoe (she currently wears lebrons). i think it would sell, but maybe im wrong.
    xCoachDx
    Probably the coolest addition to any sports game I've seen in a long time. Seriously awesome that they added this. Even more awesome that it looks like they took their time with it and didn't do it on a last second basis.
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I've wanted this to happen for years and when FIFA added the women's teams I was like, WNBA is coming just around the corner. I am a huge fan of the WNBA as a man and it's going to be cool to play as the Mercury (Arizona, baby!).
    A close female friend of mine in Brazil loves the WNBA too and she is getting NBA Live 18, so it will be cool to play with her. I feel the WNBA acquisition is a huge deal and will make a bigger impact than a lot of people think.
    Hellquist
    I've wanted this to happen for years and when FIFA added the women's teams I was like, WNBA is coming just around the corner. I am a huge fan of the WNBA as a man and it's going to be cool to play as the Mercury (Arizona, baby!).
    A close female friend of mine in Brazil loves the WNBA too and she is getting NBA Live 18, so it will be cool to play with her. I feel the WNBA acquisition is a huge deal and will make a bigger impact than a lot of people think.

    Diana is one of the GOATS, Griner is physical freak - but they dont want no smoke with Mya Moore lmao!!
    Hellquist
    I've wanted this to happen for years and when FIFA added the women's teams I was like, WNBA is coming just around the corner. I am a huge fan of the WNBA as a man and it's going to be cool to play as the Mercury (Arizona, baby!).
    A close female friend of mine in Brazil loves the WNBA too and she is getting NBA Live 18, so it will be cool to play with her. I feel the WNBA acquisition is a huge deal and will make a bigger impact than a lot of people think.

    Forever wishing you could do WNBA seasons!
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    coachcolbert
    Diana is one of the GOATS, Griner is physical freak - but they dont want no smoke with Mya Moore lmao!!

    I truly believe she is the GOAT but Maya Moore? Shh! Please!! Not quite yet, buddy lol. The Lynx have been dominating this decade, so I can't hate too much :)
    xCoachDx
    Forever wishing you could do WNBA seasons!
    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    Don't make me giddy LOL. I would love to. If EA keeps making Live I feel it will happen eventually.
    oneHova
    It does have its own H2H matchmaking. Did you not read the official blog?

    Sent from my F3113 using Tapatalk

    Oh ok cool . I didn't read that at all . Sucks it's not in the demo though . I did read it was supposed to be included ... I don't know what to believe
    Why would anyone want to play with WNBA teams when nobody even watches the WNBA to start with? Just seems like useless production time wasted when they have more than enough problems to address. This is just another reason why EA will never come close to competing with 2K and most likely will have to abandon basketball altogether.
    Hellquist
    I truly believe she is the GOAT but Maya Moore? Shh! Please!! Not quite yet, buddy lol. The Lynx have been dominating this decade, so I can't hate too much :)

    well, the true GOAT is Cheryl Miller sir lol! But i understand where youre coming from Diana changed the womens game while she was at UConn! Shes still a monster, but those UConn days where nasty.
    I don't think there is much benefit to adding WNBA teams to the game in a limited capacity. 
    The number of woman who both watch sports and play games is small to begin with (I know quite a few female gamers, and they are all RPG and platformer gamers), and I do not believe that the WNBA would cause a woman to purchase the game when she otherwise would not have.
    I'd wager that the vast majority of WNBA fans are also NBA fans. I seem to recall an article that had statistics that show more women watch the NBA than the WNBA. 
    Maybe if they had a WNBA franchise mode it would be a worthwhile addition, but for only play now games? It is destined to flop. 
    It would also be really stupid on the part of EA if they were thinking limit the WNBA to play now only and if there is support expand on it in the future. 
    I don't have interest in getting Live (2K is so far ahead of EAs Sports games) and playing as WNBA players, but think it is a neat addition for lots of people that would have interest in doing that.
    Not sure why there isn't at least a season mode which would have been an easy addition, maybe Franchise would have been harder to do.
    jbrock11
    Why would anyone want to play with WNBA teams when nobody even watches the WNBA to start with? Just seems like useless production time wasted when they have more than enough problems to address. This is just another reason why EA will never come close to competing with 2K and most likely will have to abandon basketball altogether.

    What production time wasted? EA has been working on this game for almost 2 years. If they can't address their issues in that amount of time, then they just won't be addressed.
    It's pandering to the highest level.
    The WNBA is crap, it's a failed league that is only there because the NBA keeps it on life support. If not for the NBA pumping millions into it yearly it would be gone.
    EA adding the WNBA shows that they are not 100% interested in making the best basketball product. They instead want to pander. Of course a good chunk of game journalists are SJW's and will proudly tell you that they grade and cover things completely biased and somehow think that's fair.
    FIFA adding female teams was bad but that was an already established title that has a fanbase around the world. NBA Live is a broken franchise that is a punchline for most of the industry. They do not have the time or resources to waste time showing inferior players and leagues.
    The idea that female players don't want to play as the best in the world in ridiculous. "Oh LeBron is amazing but I'm just a girl so I'll take Sue Bird, she's more my speed"
    Adding the WNBA is somewhere between insulting and stupid.
    Jaysonguy
    It's pandering to the highest level.
    The WNBA is crap, it's a failed league that is only there because the NBA keeps it on life support. If not for the NBA pumping millions into it yearly it would be gone.
    EA adding the WNBA shows that they are not 100% interested in making the best basketball product. They instead want to pander. Of course a good chunk of game journalists are SJW's and will proudly tell you that they grade and cover things completely biased and somehow think that's fair.
    FIFA adding female teams was bad but that was an already established title that has a fanbase around the world. NBA Live is a broken franchise that is a punchline for most of the industry. They do not have the time or resources to waste time showing inferior players and leagues.
    The idea that female players don't want to play as the best in the world in ridiculous. "Oh LeBron is amazing but I'm just a girl so I'll take Sue Bird, she's more my speed"
    Adding the WNBA is somewhere between insulting and stupid.

    Oooof, this guy.
    KennyJ1976
    What production time wasted? EA has been working on this game for almost 2 years. If they can't address their issues in that amount of time, then they just won't be addressed.
    I concur.
    Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
    This is actually pretty cool the more I think about it.
    There was a college game, may have been March Madness 1998 that had some of, if not all the women's teams.
    ggsimmonds
    I don't think there is much benefit to adding WNBA teams to the game in a limited capacity.*
    The number of woman who both watch sports and play games is small to begin with (I know quite a few female gamers, and they are all RPG and platformer gamers), and I do not believe that the WNBA would cause a woman to purchase the game when she otherwise would not have.
    I'd wager that the vast majority of WNBA fans are also NBA fans. I seem to recall an article that had statistics that show more women watch the NBA than the WNBA.*
    Maybe if they had a WNBA franchise mode it would be a worthwhile addition, but for only play now games? It is destined to flop.*
    It would also be really stupid on the part of EA if they were thinking limit the WNBA to play now only and if there is support expand on it in the future.*

    I agree with this. Including wnba teams in this game won't boost sales for live at all since hardly anyone(male or female) watches the wnba. I love basketball so much that I tried watching it several times and well...oh boy lol. But if it leads to female characters being able to be created in it's street ball mode then it may be a good thing.

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