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NBA still has faith in EA Sports despite NBA Live’s falter

Tuesday, 18th February 2014 22:02 GMT By Brenna Hillier

NBA Live might not have been the renaissance fans hoped for from the EA Sports series, but the NBA isn’t giving up on the publisher yet.

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“EA has been a long-standing and fantastic partner and there’s no doubt they continue to believe basketball is a way to expand their own global reach,” NBA merchandising executive Vicky Picca told GamesIndustry.

“They are – notwithstanding setbacks with their NBA game – an industry leader in sports gaming. We’ve always liked the concept of giving our fans a choice with NBA games. It drives competition and innovation.”

NBA Live 14 marked the return of the EA Sports’ franchise after an absence of a couple of years. Unfortunately, it didn’t go down well. The main competition NBA Live faces, of course, is NBA 2K, which is only going from strength to strength.

“In this decade, NBA 2K14 has become one of the five bestselling console games out there. It’s the fastest-selling NBA game in history this year,” Picca said.

“2K has figured out how to crack the code with savvy marketing and putting finger on the pulse of pop culture working with Michael Jordan in the past and LeBron James this year. From a technical standpoint, 2K spent a lot of time making the game look good. They did head scans for each player on each team for the next gen games, as an example.”

In general, the NBA believes games can help expand the sports’ audience.

“The more we can expand the NBA to new consumers, the better. In the video game space, we get approached regularly by partners who want to work with our brand,” Picca said.

“Sometimes we’ll see something that’s intriguing and we’ll approach a developer or publisher. Oftentimes, things will take on a life of their own.”

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