For the past 8 years, NBA 2k has completely revolutionized the sports simulation video game industry. While doing so, that has left Electronic Arts’ NBA Live franchise in the dust. 2K’s Next Gen graphics and in-depth “MyCareer” mode has had every video game franchise trying to emulate them with one of their own. Their online gameplay gives the players a direct community where up to 40 gamers are in one session and play against one another as if they are playing at a Park. They have changed the culture of the NBA by making NBA stars anxious and inspired to boost their own player ratings on the game. NBA 2k has lifted their franchise to the stratosphere that Live would only dream of reaching.
However, it’s a new day
After being one of the most anticipated games of 2016, NBA 2k17 took a huge drop in sales. Having sold 29% fewer copies than NBA2K16 did. (NBA2K16 sold 8.24 million copies and NBA2K17 sold 5.86 million) Despite being the only available basketball game in the market. According to the Xbox Live Store, last year’s 2k16 review was 4.2 stars out of 5. This year is 2.9 stars.
How could this happen? How could a powerhouse like 2k have such a huge dip in customer satisfaction? Was it the abysmal servers that lead to the epic fail of the “Park After Dark” event that was discontinued? Or is it because the virtual currency system ruined the game by being able to buy a player that has an 86 overall for fifty dollars, which doesn’t include buying clothes or animations for said player. Or maybe it’s the mindless “Badge Grinding” play in MyCareer mode that has polluted the 2k Community.
lost its touch. They are afraid that they will have a downfall like Call of Duty. They are hesitant to buy 2k18 and get the same quality product…Or even worse. The community is demanding better production on more important features of the game or they will take their business elsewhere.
This is when EA Sports come in and saves the day
It’s Time for a Change
After being discontinued on major platforms 4 times over the last 7 years, NBA Live is back from the dead. And they have a brilliant way of doing so. On Friday, August 11th, EA Sports released the demo to NBA Live 18 and cover athlete, James Harden. When you start the game you are taken to one of the most revered pro-ams in basketball, The Drew League. You begin a start up an exhibition with all the NBA’s stars competing. When you first pick up the sticks and begin, you can feel the difference between LIve and 2k. The aesthetic of the game gives a realistic feel that 2k has lost. By bringing in historical gyms and parks, it makes the player actually feel like he is playing at a place like Venice Beach.
One of the new additions to this year’s game, The Rise which serves as a prologue for “The One” mode. Described as a “way to pursue your legacy, centered on the player and defined by your choices.” With NBA 2K18 and its Prelude release ahead of launch, the progress you make in the demo will transfer to the full game.
Not to mention, bringing back the broadcast of ESPN and adding sports talk show “First Take” hosted by Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman. Also, the WNBA will be featured on NBA Live 18, which will be the first time adding women’s basketball on a gaming simulator. Although the First Take cut scenes are very drawn-out and cannot be skipped. Also, the gameplay for the WNBA may not be played that much. It still gives gamers something new to look at. A new perspective.
Live brings in a new and improved face scan system. Where you can download the NBA Live Companion app and create your player to your likeness.
During The One mode, your player dabbles in both sides of basketball, The Streets, and The League. Go from rookie to veteran with your favorite team in The League, an authentic NBA career experience. Alongside The Streets, live your hoop dreams as a young basketball player and fight your way to becoming The One.
When you are not on The Streets or The League you can dominate in Live events. Instantly play in real-time, uniquely crafted Live Events offering challenges and rewards all year-long within solo, co-op, and multiplayer.
The most interesting thing about Live 18, is the major discount. Anyone who pre-orders NBA Live 18 will get 33% off, dropping its price from $60 to $40. That’s certainly not the type of thing you’d expect to see from EA. Given the dominance that the NBA 2K series has had, it’s a clever move. An edge in price can only help to boost sales, as EA found over a decade ago when competitors like NBA 2K5 and NFL 2K5 released for only $20.
NBA Live has Nothing to Lose
Let’s not get our hopes up on Live. Occasionally the game has some GameCube-type feel to it when it comes to animations. The graphics are still not up to par with 2k, and it still feels like they are about 3 years behind the competition. There is a big chance that if this game flops, EA Sports may cut Live off again. That is why this game is so important, Depending on the success of this game of Live and 2k it could either make or break both franchises. However, Live has the edge because they have nothing to lose. If Live can become a success or if the fans can see the potential, then it could make Live a legit competitor. If it doesn’t then it’s back to the drawing board.
In the gamer’s perspective, they just want a high-quality game. They are tired of being bamboozled into buying a game that’s $60+ and given sub par gameplay. Whether is MyCareer or The One, they just want to play. The fact of the matter is, 2k is an empire. This will not happen overnight. Live will have to keep at it, year after year to compete with 2k. This is just a first step to take their crown once again, but 2k is in trouble.