NBA Live (video game series)

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NBA Live
Developers EA Canada (1995–2010)
EA Tiburon (2010–present)
Publishers EA Sports
Platforms PC, Sega Genesis, Super NES, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Sega Saturn, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, iPhone, iPod Touch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

NBA Live is a series of basketball video games, published by EA Sports. It is the successor to EA's previous NBA Playoffs and NBA Showdown series. Its main competitor is the NBA 2K series.

NBA Playoffs

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.

Year Game Title Features
1989 Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs NBA team 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 Basketball game officially by EA Sports, custom team
1993 NBA Showdown Multiple custom team, 3rd party in game advertisement, white box cover, all NBA teams.

NBA Live

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 2000-2005. 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 Mega Drive\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 PS4, 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 90's 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 2 players or more can play the Three Point Shootout or the Slam Dunk Contest.

In NBA Live 08 a limited number of international teams were added under FIBA's license.

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,[1] but it would later be announced, on September 27, 2012, that they would cancel the release.[2] It wasn't until the fall of 2013, that the next game, NBA Live 14, would be released.

NBA Live 16 was released on September 29, 2015. It is currently the latest of the NBA Live series.

Game Title Cover
NBA Live 95 Seven player action shot from 1994 NBA Finals, Knicks vs. Rockets
NBA Live 96 Tip-off before Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, Rockets vs. Magic (SNES and Genesis)

United States Shaquille O'Neal (PC and PlayStation)

NBA Live 97 United States Mitch Richmond
NBA Live 98 United States Tim Hardaway
NBA Live 99 United States Antoine Walker
NBA Live 2000 United States Tim Duncan
NBA Live 2001 United States Kevin Garnett
Lithuania Arvydas Sabonis
NBA Live 2002 United States Steve Francis
NBA Live 2003 United States Jason Kidd
NBA Live 2004 United States Vince Carter
Spain Raül López
NBA Live 2005 United States Carmelo Anthony
France Tony Parker, Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 06 United States Dwyane Wade
Japan Yuta Tabuse, France Tony Parker, Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 07 United States Tracy McGrady
Germany Dirk Nowitzki, France Tony Parker/Boris Diaw,[3] Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 08 United States Gilbert Arenas[4]
Germany Dirk Nowitzki, Italy Andrea Bargnani, Spain Pau Gasol, France Tony Parker/Boris Diaw
NBA Live 09 FranceUnited States Tony Parker[5]
United Kingdom Luol Deng, Italy Andrea Bargnani, Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 10 United States Dwight Howard
Spain Pau Gasol
United Kingdom Luol Deng
NBA Live 14 United States Kyrie Irving
NBA Live 15 United States Damian Lillard
NBA Live 16 United States Russell Westbrook


  1. Hinkle, David (2012-02-23). "EA's next basketball sim is NBA Live 13". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-10-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Suszek, Mike (2012-09-27). "NBA Live 13 canceled by EA". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-10-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. August 23, 2006 4:55PM PDT (2006-09-25). "Dirk leads European NBA Live covers". Retrieved 2012-10-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. April 30, 2007 9:14AM PDT (2007-10-01). "Gilbert Arenas nets NBA Live 08 cover". Retrieved 2012-10-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Bailey, W. Scott (June 25, 2008). "EA Sports puts Spurs' Parker on its cover".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links