Though EA Sports wasn't showing much in the way of gameplay for NBA Live 07 for the Xbox 360 at today's EA summer press event, the publisher was still excited about one particular aspect of the next game: the ESPN integration built into the game. We had a chance to get a first look at the next generation of real-life sports content streaming, which will be featured in the Xbox 360 and (possibly) the PlayStation 3 versions of NBA Live 07.
First things first: The menu system in NBA Live 07 is breaking out the ESPN content separately from the rest of the game. Instead of just running an updated sports ticker in the real game, you'll be able to access all the streaming ESPN content from a central point off the main menu. In addition, any of the content described below can be accessed and streamed at any point in the game.
So what kind of content are we talking about? Well, first and foremost, there's audio. If you've played this year's MVP 06 NCAA Baseball, then streaming content will be nothing new for you. Every 20 minutes, regular SportsCenter updates will be streamed to your console in the game. But that isn't all. In addition to the regular audio sports updates, you'll be able to access full-length podcasts of regular ESPN Radio content such as The Dan Patrick Show, Mike & Mike in the Morning, and so on.
If you hear an interesting story in one of the audio podcasts that you find interesting, chances are you'll find an accompanying text story on the biggest news of the day, which is the second part of the upgraded ESPN integration in NBA Live 07. Constantly updated sports newsfeeds from ESPN and Associated Press means you'll never be that far from the next in-depth report on Adam Morrison crying during a big game.
With audio and text updates firmly in place, you might be able to guess the final piece of the ESPN puzzle: video updates. Thanks to the ESPN Motion video stream technology (which has been in place on ESPN.com for several years now), you'll be able to stream interviews and popular ESPN shows such as Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn straight to your console. Now, you will finally be able to answer the eternal question: "How much is too much Tony Reali?"
So, as we said, there's not much in the way of new gameplay on NBA Live 07. The main menu we saw during the press demo showed cover star Tracy McGrady in a similar version of the futuristic basketball setting featured in last year's game--we're assuming that, just like last year, you'll be able to play some one-on-one in the menu screen. It's too bad we didn't see T-Mac in motion, as it would have been a perfect time to check out some of the new animation techniques used in the game that EA first showed off back at E3 earlier this year. As you can expect, there's tons more to learn about the next-gen version of NBA Live 07, and we'll be bringing it all to you here in the coming months.[Editor's Note: GameSpot has learned today that the ESPN integration described above will only be available in next-gen versions of NBA Live 07, and will not be found in the PSP and the PS2 versions of the game as originally stated by EA. We have corrected the story to reflect this information.]