When it comes to basketball games, EA Sports needs a 2K Killer. Or, at the very least, it needs a 2K Denter. NBA 2K is the perennial king of the court, consistently dwarfing EA's NBA Live in both quality and sales. This year, EA has a commendable strategy that might convince some folks to give Live a chance.
Alongside today's announcement that Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden will be the NBA Live 18 cover athlete, there was the reveal that EA's selling the game for $40 for anyone who's willing to pre-order. When it launches on September 19, the price reverts back to $60.
This is a low-price limbo that's no stranger to these two publishers. Back in 2005, 2K Games famously released NFL 2K5 for $20 in an effort to cut into Madden's stranglehold on football games. It sort of worked, helped by the fact that NFL 2K5 is fondly remembered as one of the best sports games ever; but, ultimately, Madden won out and remains the biggest name in football video games.
Of more importance than the price cut is the lingering question: Will NBA Live 18 even be worth $40? The series has had a rough go of it in recent years. NBA Live 16 was met with a tepid reception, and what would've been NBA Live 17 was basically delayed and then reworked into Live 18.
EA seems confident (even if that's the game face a publisher is supposed to wear). There will be a demo releasing today, August 11, for NBA Live 18. You can see for yourself where a year off has gotten this franchise.
Introducing James Harden [NBA Live]