For the first time ever, the WNBA will be represented in a video game.
Late Thursday morning, the league's President, Lisa Borders announced, "We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as 'NBA Live 18' becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA's full roster of teams and players."
Many of the league's star players—including, Maya Moore, Brittney Griner, and Diana Taurasi, Chelsea Gray, Sylvia Fowles, Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas, and Allisha Gray—had their heads scanned for the game, and Kelsey Plum of San Antonio, among other players, took part in motion capture sessions.
EA's NBA franchise, once critically acclaimed, has had a tumultuous history since 2005 that has seen the franchise mired with mixed-to-poorly-reviewed titles and cancelled installments, with their last console release being NBA Live 16 (released September 2015) and their last release on any platform being the mobile game NBA Live Mobile (released July 2016). In that time, their competitors at 2K sports and their NBA 2K franchise have become, not only the bar for basketball simulators, but sports games as a genre, as it collects multiple Sports Game of the Year accolades and nominations every year. On top of that, the NBA 2K franchise is consistently one of the highest-selling games across all home-console platforms, annually.
Whether the inclusion of the WNBA is enough to win over new fans, or even steal some away from 2K's stranglehold, remains to be seen. A demo for NBA Live 18 will come later this month with progress being carried over to the full-game when it launches sometime in September. Those with EA Access will receive a ten-percent discount if they purchase the game through that service for Xbox One.
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