NBA Elite 11 was scheduled to hit the streets in a week, but apparently Electronic Arts has pulled the plug at the last minute and is postponing the release. While no new ship date has been announced, it is being called a postponement or a delay, depending on who you seem to ask.
The reasons for the delay, or postponement if you will, seem to center around quality concerns that were raised by reaction to the recently released demo. According to a posting on the blog of EA Sports President Peter Moore, "The decision to delay NBA ELITE 11 was hard because the game has great promise. But ultimately we feel this is the right thing to do. We've been making steady progress on basketball for the past few years and it's going to take extra time to make the game."
Perhaps the biggest tie to NBA Elite 11 might have been the announcement by EA that it would include a code to download the new NBA Jam on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. With the news of the delay, a ray of good news also arrived with the announcement that EA will be releasing NBA Jam for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in time for the holidays, and it will be a standalone product and not part of the NBA Elite 11 release. Right now, we still don’t know if it will be an actual title in-store release or a digital download. The price for the Xbox/PS3 version of NBA Jam is also unknown, as well whether it will continue to be a limited offering; while the Wii will still get the full NBA Jam experience when it arrives on October 5th.
In addition, Moore says that NBA Live 10 will still be supported for the 2010/2011 season including full roster updates and digital DNA updates. These DLC add-ons to the NBA Live 10 title will be free.
The decision to take additional time on NBA Elite 11 is reportedly a direct response to the feedback that it received from consumers. NBA Elite 11 is now looking at a Q1 2011 release and fewer sales, as the NBA 2K franchise will have already had a significant head start on sales. NBA Elite 11 was to chart a new direction in the franchise, and to do this it was the job of NHL producer David Littman to get the franchise back on track.
It seems now that things were much worse than initially thought; but the delay ends the NBA Jam pack-in code issue and the additional time should yield a much better end product. However, we expect sales to lag behind the 2K Sports offering. While it isn’t being whispered yet, with the sharp criticism that the demo got and now the delay we would not be surprised if the title might take a year off to undergo some additional work and tuning before it gets released on what will become NBA Elite 12. It could come to pass.