Ordinarily in basketball, a delay of game penalty costs a team no more than a free throw and possession of the ball. But when the delayed game is NBA Elite 11, the punishment could be more severe.
In a note to investors, Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said the delay could cost publisher Electronic Arts as much as $60 million. Pachter lowered his holiday quarter revenue projections for the publisher from $1.52 billion to $1.46 billion, reflecting the loss of 1.1 million sales of NBA Elite 11.
Perhaps worse, Pachter thinks the game's 2011 first quarter sales will now be less than before, even with the game presumably launching in that window. In revising his figures, Pachter said he only expects the game to sell 500,000 copies at launch. When NBA Elite 11 was still set for an October launch, Pachter had expected sales of 550,000 for the January to March quarter. He even raised the prospect of it being canceled outright.
Those sales won't disappear completely. Pachter said most of the sales NBA Elite would have claimed will now be taken by Take-Two Interactive's NBA 2K11. While the delay has caused EA to release NBA Jam as a stand-alone product on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this holiday season, Pachter said the arcade-style title is "not a true substitute" for NBA Elite 11.
Built around a more "hands-on control" scheme than its NBA Live predecessors, NBA Elite 11 will emphasize player movement and skill-based shooting. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.