Editorial: Does NBA Live 13 Stand a Chance Against NBA 2K13?

We measure up the battle between two basketball heavyweights later this year.

For the past couple of years, 2K Sports has literally dominated the paint with its NBA 2K series, starting with teaming up with Michael Jordan for NBA 2K11 and eventually other legends in NBA 2K12.  But now, EA Sports, a company that’s been out of the simulation basketball game since it scuttled its NBA Elite 11 project, is about to hit the hard court once again with the recently announced NBA Live 13.  The real question is, does it stand a chance?

Let’s be honest.  The last time we saw EA Sports try a serious game of basketball (the downloadable NBA Jam: On Fire Edition not withstanding), it fell hard on its face.  Upon releasing the NBA Elite 11 demo, it not only faced harsh criticism from its fans, but also from folks who posted clips of ridiculous glitches on YouTube.  With that information in mind, EA Sports cancelled the release of the game at the last minute, and pretty much wiped out a good portion of its development team.

Since that time, EA’s been rather dormant, only relying on NBA Jam to get its basketball message across.  But a few days before this week’s NBA All Star Game, the company hinted that their NBA games were making a comeback.  However, instead of calling it NBA Elite, it’s sticking with a name that always worked – NBA Live 13.  They already Kyrie Irving talking about the game, and several others voiced their happiness for the return of the EA Sports franchise.

But the real question is this – is it enough?  To be honest, 2K Sports has done everything right with its previous basketball efforts.  NBA 2K11 received a major push with the addition of Michael Jordan, as well as the option to add him to any team you preferred, rather than just the Chicago Bulls.  And NBA 2K12 pushed even harder with more legends, along with improved online functionality and the same great gameplay that the series has become known for.  No wonder it’s a best seller.

What can NBA Live 13 possibly do to compete?  Well, the first thing that EA Sports has to do is adapt a play style that works, rather than waiting till the last minute to see what kinks need to be worked out.  EA’s done a good job with its sports games over the past year, so it should take what it’s learned and somehow adapt it to the basketball scene.  It can be done – it just needs to be done right.