How EA Botched NBA Jam… Again

I boycott all EA titles. I hadn’t purchased one since Tiger Woods ’06, a series I used to purchase annually. What happened? The studio began filling the main menu and loading screens with a non-stop assault of sensory-specific ads, mountains of absurd, unbalancing DLC, and eventually, the online pass. I refuse to support any of it.

But, then came NBA Jam. This has no online pass, no ads, nothing that makes me fuel with rage whenever EA is pushing something onto the market. So, I bought it. Yes, I was the one who rushed out on launch day to pay $50 for NBA Jam, breaking the boycott. “Why?” you ask, since of course NBA Jam was meant to be free with NBA Elite 11 (a game that was canned). Simple: NBA Jam is better than a $15 download. It’s a classic, this remake capturing the essence, the style, and the core mechanics. We shouldn’t pan simplicity as only being “good enough” for a XBLA title, or even a free game. I fully understand the frustration over those who expected to pay nothing for Jam when they bought Elite; I sympathize with that group. In the end, the separate release saved me $10 since my interest in Elite was nill to begin with.

What a shocker that I ended up screwed.

As it turns out, EA wasn’t going to support NBA Jam the retail disc, some utter and complete BS about focusing on the development, making the game great in the first place. Uh huh. Sure, because that totally effects the title post-release.

Of course, reality is a funny thing, and it turns out they must have been talking about NBA Jam: On Fire, a new downloadable update that for history’s sake should have been called Tournament Edition. It will feature things that could have easily been patched into the retail Jam, stuff like tag mode (allowing a solo player to control both NBA superstars), new AI, new solo outings, and hey, maybe even customizable controls. Who woulda thunk it?

Now, instead of providing support for the $50 product, they’re going to support the $15 one. Brilliant move EA, because why should logic ever get in the way of business? Certainly dropping the retail price of NBA Jam the disc to $20 and updating that wouldn’t make any sense. You’ve already sent too many consumers fuming over the stunt you pulled in the first place, so why not try and recapture them with what they wanted, right?

News flash: You’ve lost this customer. I won’t touch your downloadable NBA Jam. I feel bad too, because you have a development team who obviously cared about the heart and soul of that series, and they deserve to be supported. You don’t, EA. You don’t deserve a dime.