NBA Elite 2011’s Delay Proves A Win For Gamers

With the news that EA Sports is delaying NBA Elite 2011, the net result for gamers is a win across the board.

First, the baffling decision to only release NBA Jam as a full retail title on Wii has been reversed, and an HD version will be coming out later this year for PS3 and Xbox 360. It seemed dubious to begin with that EA would use NBA Jam as a sales mechanism to drive sales of NBA Elite anyway. Now fans who don’t want the sim-heavy Elite game can purchase a non-fuzzy version of NBA Jam and avoid the Wii all together.

Second, it’s refreshing to see a company, especially one as large as EA, listen to feedback from gamers. The demo went live earlier this month, and clearly the gamer reaction was negative enough to necesitate large-scale changes to the game. Rather than release a bad game, or release a game with promises of “future patches”, EA took the fiscally risky route by moving the Elite game from Holiday 2010 to early 2011. This could have an impact on sales of the game THIS year, but as a commitment to the franchise in the longterm, it could have immense future dividends. It’s rare to see a large, public company put long-term quality and customer loyalty above short term profits and balance sheets.

Finally, to reward their current customers, EA is extending the support from last year’s game, NBA Live 2010, to account for the 2010-2011 season and rosters. In an age where companies are abandoning support for online titles earlier and earlier, EA deserves credit for making things right by their fans and customers.

Often as gamers it’s easy to lambaste Activision or EA or Microsoft or (insert large company name here) for acting in their investors best interest. However in the case of NBA Elite 2011, EA has done right by fans, the developers and fans of the sport.

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