New NBA Live Games "Guaranteed" for Next Two Years

NBA Live 16 and 17 will happen, despite EA Sports' recent struggles and this year's delay of NBA Live 15.

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More than a week before NBA Live 15 lands in stores, series executive producer Sean O'Brien has reassured fans that this will not be the last entry in the two decade-old franchise.

In an interview with Polygon, O'Brien promised that next year's game (the unannounced NBA Live 16) will be better than this year's game. Asked if that means there is sure to be a new Live next year, O'Brien said, "Guaranteed." Not only that, but work on it has already begun. "We've already started development on 16," he said. "We're staffing up. We're actually increasing investment on what 16--and 17--look like."

That comes as somewhat of a surprise for a number of reasons. Despite being the preeminent NBA simulation series in the '90s, the NBA 2K franchise has firmly taken hold of that position from Live and has not let go. Things have gotten especially bad for EA Sports on the basketball front in recent years, and not just because the 2K games have routinely sold better and been better received. The Live brand was dropped in favor of the NBA Elite name in 2010, only for that game to be canceled. EA didn't attempt to release a game in 2011, only to then cancel NBA Live 13 due to it being a downright mess. And while it was able to release NBA Live 14 last year, there was no question about what the best basketball game on the market was.

With the NBA license not being cheap and Polygon reporting that EA's deal with the league has only a year left, it wouldn't have been a tremendous surprise to see EA Sports bow out to the basketball space. But basketball is as big a sport worldwide as anything outside of soccer, and O'Brien says there is a $350 million market for NBA games. That's not the sort of thing you'd want to walk away from, and is presumably why O'Brien can so confidently say we'll be seeing the series continue beyond this year.

NBA Live 15 was originally scheduled to release earlier this month alongside NBA 2K15. In September, the game was delayed by three weeks; it'll now be available on October 28, exclusively for Xbox One and PS4.

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