Electronic Arts confirmed it has “scrapped” NBA Live 20, posting an announcement on the official Twitter account for the property. The company says it is “excited by [their] progress but remain hyper ambitious, so we’re not going to release NBA LIVE 20 this season.” The company also pledges to post regular updates on the project and other games that they’re working on in the future.
The company is instead working on a variety of projects in the future, and their overall moves feel like both a departure and reinforcement of current strategy. The somewhat lackluster release of last year’s game most likely had a major impact on this decision, but there are probably some other moving parts that contributed to this. The huge backlash against 2K over outrageous gambling mechanics and buggy launches in recent sports titles is something that many gamers are keying in and think that EA is running from backlash before it starts.
This announcement has been met with a fair bit of suspicion, and some regret on the part of fans, but the general consensus seems pretty clear. When reconciled with the recent announcement that EA will be further committing to “live services” with future projects, a lot of people are rather suspicious of what the company has planned. It’s very likely that EA is pushing that strategy into the future to try and avoid ongoing backlash over aggressive monetization.
Some fans are hoping that Electronic Arts will instead move away from the more monetization-heavy simulation focus of their main rival NBA 2K20, instead moving toward the focus of classic franchises like NBA Street or NBA Jam. This has of course not been confirmed.
The company has cancelled games before, most notably in the basketball genre, when the company shelved NBA Elite 11 several years ago. EA also dropped NBA Live 13 over some issues with development.
If you absolutely want a basketball experience on the console or PC in 2019, and can deal with the gambling nonsense, NBA 2K20 is available now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.