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NBA Live video game series logo
|Developer(s)||EA Canada (1994–2010)|
EA Tiburon (2013–present)
Microsoft Windows (PC)
|First release||NBA Live 95|
|Latest release||NBA Live 19|
September 7, 2018
NBA Live is a series of basketball video games published by EA Sports. The series, which has had releases annually from 1994 to 2009, 2013 to 2015, and 2017-2018, is the successor to EA's previous NBA Playoffs and NBA Showdown series.
The predecessor of the NBA Live series was the NBA Playoffs series, which featured Lakers vs. Celtics, released first in 1989 for MS-DOS-compatible PCs and later adapted for consoles in early 1990 for the Sega Mega Drive. This game was played from a horizontal view (while later versions moved to an isometric view before ultimately moving to 3D on newer consoles). The game was one of the first to feature an NBA license, containing both real NBA teams and player likenesses and signature moves. Details such as Horace Grant's goggles are clearly visible, and Michael Jordan's "Air Reverse Layup" is animated with very high accuracy. Player numbers were also visible. The game featured only eight of the sixteen teams that qualified for the NBA playoffs that year, as well as both NBA All-Star teams.
The next game in the series was Bulls vs. Lakers, released in 1991, followed by Bulls vs. Blazers in 1992. Unlike the first game, these two releases were titled after the two teams who were in the NBA Finals the previous season, while the original release apparently chose the Lakers and Celtics due to both teams' historical success, in particular their rivalry in the 1980s. Each revision added more teams and players, as well as more signature moves. The series also included an Olympic basketball spinoff game, Team USA Basketball (1992) which uses the same engine. The final game in the series was NBA Showdown 94 for the Sega Genesis before the transition to the NBA Live series.
|1989||Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs||NBA teams and players, signature moves in team game.|
|1991||Bulls vs Lakers and the NBA Playoffs||Co-operative play, instant replay in team game.|
|1992||Team USA Basketball||International player licenses.|
|1992||Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs||NBA teams and players, custom team.|
|1993||NBA Showdown||Multiple custom team, 3rd party in game advertisement, white box cover, all NBA teams.|
In the fall of 1994, the annual EA basketball release received a simpler title of NBA Live 95. This naming pattern using the forthcoming year has continued, except for varying to use of all 4 digits of the year from 2000 to 2005. Each version's initial release was in the fall near the start of the NBA campaign, though additional ports were sometimes delayed until as late as January or February. After 16 consecutive seasons of releases, an effort to retool the game as NBA Elite 11 met with development troubles, and put the game on hiatus for three years. The series returned with NBA Live 14 in November 2013.
The pioneer NBA Live 95 release was for fourth generation video game systems Sega Genesis and SNES, as well as the MS-DOS operating system. NBA Live 96 included the first fifth generation version, with the PlayStation, and also the first handheld games version, on the Game Boy. Sixth generation production started with NBA Live 2001 and continued all the way through NBA Live 2009 on the high selling PlayStation 2. NBA Live 06 was the first to hit seventh generation consoles, after its release to the Xbox 360. Finally, with the release of NBA Live 14 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, EA continued its run on into eighth generation machines. The game was released on PC each season until support was pulled after the NBA Live 08 season.
The Create-A-Player feature was not available in the 1995 versions of the game, but has been a mainstay since NBA Live 96.
NBA Live 99 was the first to feature Practice Mode and Multi-season play.
Starting in NBA Live 2000, the series featured NBA Live Legend All-Stars Teams, that included some biggest names from five decades (50s to 90s). These teams could be used instantly, but to use the players as regular players (e.g. traded, played on regular NBA Teams) they needed to be unlocked. Through the series, some of the Legend rosters were changed for various reasons. Michael Jordan was on the '90s team through 2004 before being removed due to licensing in later versions. Spud Webb, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Tom Chambers were added to the rosters in NBA Live 06.
NBA Live 2005 brought the addition of the Freestyle Air, NBA All-Star Weekend, which includes the Rookie Challenge, Three Point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest, and the NBA All-Star Game, and Freestyle Challenge, which two players or more can play the Three Point Shootout or the Slam Dunk Contest.
NBA Live 09 added a feature called Dynamic DNA, the first concept of daily updates changing tendencies, rosters, and hot-cold streaks.
After the release of NBA Live 10, EA attempted to retool the series under a new name with NBA Elite 11. However, the game was met with bad publicity and development problems before release and was cancelled (though a playable demo was released for download, and several copies of the full release found their way to customers). In November 2010, development of the franchise was moved from EA Canada studio to Florida-based Tiburon studio. It was eventually announced that the series' next installment would be released in Fall 2012 and would return to the NBA Live name as NBA Live 13, but it would later be announced, on September 27, 2012, that they would cancel the release. It wasn't until the fall of 2013, that the next game, NBA Live 14, would be released. Prior to its release, EA Sports had sold 33.54 million copies of the video game series since NBA Live 95, just falling short of its main competitor, NBA 2K's 37.24 million copies sold since its inception in 1999. NBA Live 16 was released on September 29, 2015. NBA Live Mobile was released on July 6, 2016 and it is currently about to undergo its first ever refresh. NBA Live 18 was released on September 15, 2017 and features players of the WNBA.
|Game Title||Release date||Platforms||Cover|
|NBA Live 95||December 16, 1994||Super NES, Genesis, DOS||Seven player action shot from 1994 NBA Finals, Knicks vs. Rockets|
|NBA Live 96||December 31, 1995||Super NES, Genesis, DOS, PlayStation, Game Boy||Tip-off before Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, Rockets vs. Magic (SNES and Genesis)|
Shaquille O'Neal (PC and PlayStation)
|NBA Live 97||October 31, 1996||Super NES, Genesis, DOS, PlayStation, Saturn||Mitch Richmond|
|NBA Live 98||June 17, 1997||Super NES, Genesis, Windows, PlayStation, Saturn||Tim Hardaway|
|NBA Live 99||October 31, 1998||Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64||Antoine Walker|
|NBA Live 2000||October 31, 1999||Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64||Tim Duncan|
|NBA Live 2001||October 16, 2000||Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation|| Kevin Garnett|
|NBA Live 2002||October 29, 2001||PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Xbox||Steve Francis|
|NBA Live 2003||October 8, 2002||PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, Windows||Jason Kidd|
|NBA Live 2004||October 14, 2003||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows|| Vince Carter|
|NBA Live 2005||September 28, 2004||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows|| Carmelo Anthony|
|NBA Live 06||September 26, 2005||PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows, PlayStation Portable, Mobile, Xbox 360|| Dwyane Wade|
|NBA Live 07||September 25, 2006||PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows, PlayStation Portable, Mobile, Xbox 360|| Tracy McGrady|
|NBA Live 08||October 1, 2007||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, Windows|| Gilbert Arenas|
|NBA Live 09||October 7, 2008||PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, Mobile|| Tony Parker|
|NBA Live 10||October 6, 2009||PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, iOS|| Dwight Howard|
|NBA Elite 11||November 5, 2010||iOS||Kevin Durant|
|NBA Live 13||Cancelled in 2012|
|NBA Live 14||November 19, 2013||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Kyrie Irving|
|NBA Live 15||October 28, 2014||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Damian Lillard|
|NBA Live 16||September 29, 2015||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Russell Westbrook|
|NBA Live Mobile||July 6, 2016||Android, iOS|| Russell Westbrook|
|NBA Live 18||September 15, 2017||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||James Harden|
|NBA Live 19||September 7, 2018||PlayStation 4, Xbox One||Joel Embiid|
|NBA Live 20||Cancelled in 2019|
- "NBA Live is back". Retrieved 27 August 2012.
- Goldfarb, Andrew (2012-09-27). "NBA Live 13 Canceled". IGN. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
- Press, ed. (2014). "Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer's Edition". Guinness World Records. p. 37. ISBN 9781908843838. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
- Surette, Tim (2006-08-23). "Dirk leads European NBA Live covers". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
- Sinclair, Brendan (2007-04-30). "Gilbert Arenas nets NBA Live 08 cover". GameSpot.com. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
- Bailey, W. Scott (June 25, 2008). "EA Sports puts Spurs' Parker on its cover". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
- "EA Sports Cancels NBA Live 13". Kotaku. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
- "NBA Live 20 canceled as EA Sports looks to next-gen consoles". Polygon. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.