March Madness

It was confirmed by EA Sports senior director of communications David Tinson that NCAA Basketball 11 will be absent.

By King, Posted 13 Mar 2010

Last month when Electronic Arts published their list of releases for the next fiscal year, NCAA Basketball 11 was noticeably absent. It was confirmed by EA Sports senior director  of communications David Tinson who said, “We do not have an NCAA Basketball  game in development at this time, and we’re currently reviewing  the future of our NCAA Basketball business. This was a difficult decision,  but we remain a committed partner to the NCAA and its member institutions.”

This means next year the college basketball junkies will have no where to turn for their virtual fix of NCAA hoops. Although the NCAA Basketball Tournament that comes around every spring is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, for whatever reason video games based on the sport just don't seem to sell. You could argue that players not having names is responsible, but that's hard to believe considering the NCAA Football series sells excellently, and just about everyone with an internet connection can get around the issue with roster sharing.

NCAA Basketball 11, EA Sports, 2K Sports, NBA, College Hoops 2K8

This announcement from EA Sports comes just two years after 2K Sports also canceled their short-lived College Hoops series after 2K8 was released to critical acclaim but not commercial success. And that's the thing, these games weren't poorly made. If both EA and 2K were putting out bad games I could understand why people weren't buying them, but that's not the case. College Hoops 2K8 is arguably the best game of basketball I've played this generation, and that's supported by users over at Operation Sports who voted College Hoops 2K8 as the runner-up for best sports game of all-time.  I don't know if I would give it that high of praise, but CH2K8 offered one of the deepest franchise modes ever, nearly perfected gameplay, and some terrific presentation thanks to weekly shows.

While EA Sports has been blown out in the NBA series, they managed to keep the college basketball race a single-digit game. The NCAA Basketball series had many great ideas of its own over the years, with the latest 2009 release offering a big step in broadcasting. There were two different commentary teams that would cover separate games over different networks. It gave a more realistic approach instead of hearing the same guys covering every game. Don't be fooled by the slick presentation though, the series was still a solid game of basketball that supported the collegiate atmosphere.

It's sad to imagine that the market for college basketball video games has become so lousy that no companies can even manage to put out a game. Looking on the bright side, downloadable services like EA Locker and 2K Share allow the games to live on, even without the yearly update. If you think about it, College Hoops 2K8 can survive without a few enhancements, and for $60 (or now you can probably find it in the bargain bin) you get a game that will be more than a one-and-done freshman. Although it still has 2K8 in the title, a quick download will have you playing with the likes of Evan Turner and John Wall. There's no way to get schedules updated, but it's hard to complain with the ability to keep rosters fresh.

NCAA Basketball 11, EA Sports, 2K Sports, NBA, College Hoops 2K8

That's not to say we don't care that the genre of NCAA licensed basketball games is dieing. I'm hoping someone picks up the slack and releases a new game for the 2010-2011 season, but in the meantime there's we do have something to fulfill our needs. In order to boost sales, here are a few ideas that could possibly work.

Asking $60 for a video game is a lot, and a lot of gamers are reluctant to pay full price unless it's a game they are really hyped about. Maybe by lowering the price to $30 at day one will attract more customers. Hey, it worked for 2K Sports last generation by having new games at $20, so why can't it work now? Getting half the profit may just be too much to ask for companies, even if it means selling more copies.

So what if the NCAA game was part of the NBA release? Instead of buying two basketball games every year, you could get everything in one package. The games usually borrow many elements from each other, including an almost identical engine, so why not put them on one disc for the ultimate hardwood experience? Sure, this game will cost more to develop, but sales will certainly be increased by NBA fans, NCAA fans, and even people who were on the fence about buying the game before. Even packaging costs are brought down by using only half the materials. Something like this could even pave the way for incorporating a WNBA game into the mix.

What do you think? How will the industry fair without a college basketball game being released this year? How long do you predict it will be before we see a return?

Logan Smithson, Noobfeed

comments powered by Disqus

  • The crisis affects everyone...even the game companies.


    Posted Mar 13, 2010

  • Who edited the display picture for this article? It looks amazing.


    Posted Mar 14, 2010

  • It's sad to know that NCAA isn't getting the attention I had few years back. Maybe the lack of investors is causing the entire dilemma. EA has been acting pretty cheap lately and I'm not surprised that they aren't continuing their work for NCAA. But your idea was interesting. Having NCAA with NBA can actually save its reputation. I agree that the cost will be bit more but NCAA will help NBA in a different way too.



    From my personal side, I never really thought about NCAA. NBA is only what I try to get my hands on every year. If EA doesn't want to continue, they can hand it over to a third-party developer. The demand is still there according to you, so there shouldn't be any risk of losing big money.



    Nice article Logan. I'm starting to become a fan of the Features you write. Keep them coming :)


    Posted Mar 14, 2010

  • Yup, none of my friends play NCAA Basketball games, just NBA now.  On another note... Duke one today... :(


    Posted Mar 15, 2010

  • @-Moroes- : I'm not a fan of Duke either, but I have to admit Singler diving into the press for that loose ball was a great hustle play. As for the rest of the tournament, it should be fun to watch since there could be a lot of upsets with no teams that are heavy favorites this year.


    Posted Mar 15, 2010

  • Yeah I respect Singler.  I am a UNC fan. You can imagine how much crap I have been getting.


    Posted Mar 15, 2010

  • Haha I bet. But I would happily take a down year if it meant my team had one the National Championship the year before.


    Posted Mar 15, 2010

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