WNBA teams will feature in NBA Live 18, EA announces. This will mark the very first time that women’s NBA teams have featured in a video game.
Women’s Teams Make Video Game Debut in NBA Live 18
In a press release, EA explains that WNBA teams will be available in NBA Live 18 through the WNBA Play Now game mode. Developers EA Tiburon has “specifically balanced” teams and players based on the unique playstyles of WNBA teams and the skills of their players.
Moreover, the NBA Live 18 developer did headscans of several players including Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles, and Maya Moore. EA Tiburon also did motion capture sessions with 2017 WNBA Draft first overall pick Kelsey Plum “among others” and the game promises the full roster of WNBA teams and players.
In a statement, WNBA president Lisa Borders says that “the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league,” while Nneka Ogwumike, president of the WNBPA and LA Sparks players explains that the game ‘recognizes’ the value of the WNBA and can “increase fan connectivity and engagement.” On Twitter, Rutgers’ women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer said it was a “BIG step,” particularly as young girls will be able to play as women in a video game.
— WNBA (@WNBA) August 3, 2017
The WNBA announcement is huge and is a key first for the women’s league, but it isn’t the first time that EA has included women in its typically male-focused sports series. Its NHL franchise previously add playable female characters (in a limited capacity), while FIFA added women’s international teams several years ago. The rival sports series, NBA 2K and Pro Evolution Soccer have yet to make strides on that front.
There are still steps that EA could take when it comes to women’s teams in NBA Live, including a WNBA career mode and adding international women’s teams, but this is a significant step. If comments by fans are an early indication, the inclusion of women could help NBA Live 18 claw back a few fans and sales from its competitor. Hopefully EA will see that enthusiasm for the women’s game and will improve on that front with the series’ next release.
NBA Live 18 will be released later this year on PS4 and Xbox One. A demo will be available on August 11.
Like this post? Like J Station X on Facebook.