NBA Live 20 Scrapped with EA Sports Focusing on Next-Gen Consoles

EA Sports becomes the four-time champions of canceling their hoops games.

October 29, 2019

Today’s news out of EA Sports is both disappointing and completely expected. The studio canceled NBA Live 20, marking the fourth time this has happened in the last decade. As reported by Polygon, EA chief executive Andrew Wilson told investors that the team was going to move development to next-gen consoles and forgo a 2019 release. The team also shared a short statement on the NBA Live Twitter, which you can see below.

Unfortunately, this news is not surprising in the least. EA already delayed the game back in August and this franchise has obviously been troubled since the debacle that was NBA Elite 11. Plus, the NBA season kicked off last week. You have to assume that was the last reasonable window to put out a basketball game this year. That said, this felt like a year NBA Live had a chance to finally make some inroads on the much more popular NBA 2K franchise.

2K20 is absolutely riddled with microtransactions. True, I don’t trust EA to not also fill their game with “surprise mechanics”. However, there was a chance they could deliver something less gross than 2K20 and garner some goodwill. They also had an opportunity to really build something different around their “The Streets” mode from NBA Live 19.

Instead, they’ve decided to throw the game away and refocus on next-gen. It’s not necessarily a bad long term move, but you have to wonder what direction they’re going to take. With their recent success with live service games like Apex Legends, it will be interesting to see what they can come up with to fit their basketball title into that window.

Of course, there is a new factor that bears mentioning. The NCAA just ruled that college players can now profit from their name and likeness. If canceling NBA Live 20 means they’re getting back to making March Madness games, then this is a move I can get behind. Sadly, this being EA, I don’t have much faith in them. Hope I’m wrong, though.


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