EA Sports Delays Troubled NBA Elite 11

by Matt Bertz on Sep 27, 2010 at 12:46 PM

When a player stinks up the court during the preseason, sometimes you have to bench him before he ruins your team's chances when it counts. After a rough public debut in a game demo filled with glitches and poor gameplay, EA Sports president Peter Moore announced that the company is delaying the release of NBA Elite 11.

In a statement made on the EA Sports website, Moore explained the move.

"This year, we set extremely ambitious goals for our new franchise, NBA Elite. We are creating a game that will introduce several breakthrough features that have been missing from the basketball genre. Unfortunately, NBA Elite11 is not yet ready and we have made a decision to delay next month’s launch. We are going to keep working until we’re certain we can deliver a breakthrough basketball experience.

"The decision to delay NBA Elite 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.

"Why make this decision now? As with all of our titles, we continue to evaluate and improve the code right up until launch. Feedback from consumers is a very important part of the process. NBA Elite had the benefit of play-testing, a demo and a lot of our own research. All that feedback revealed some concerns about gameplay polish, so we’ve listened to your feedback, and made a judgment that the game would benefit from more time in development.

"I want to thank our NBA Elite development team for their efforts to meet this year’s lofty goals, and we’re behind them as they continue their work. While no one is happy with this delay, we appreciate the support and ongoing feedback from our fans. We’ll have more information coming soon."

Rebuilding a sports game from the ground up isn't easy, and given NBA Elite's laundry list of problems we think that delaying the game is the smart decision. The question now becomes, is an extra month or two enough time to salvage the game? It may not be the most popular business move in the perspective of quarterly profits, but if you take the long view it may make more sense to give the development team another year to deliver a more polished basketball game.