EA Sports’ mobile edition has been better received than console version. NBA Live Mobile, which found a much warmer critical and commercial reception than its console counterpart when it test-launched in Canada in February, is now available in the Android and iOS app stores in the U.S.
EA Sports announced in May that the game, which is free to download, would be the only NBA basketball game it published in 2016, with any console title coming in winter 2017 at the earliest.
NBA Live Mobile offers three modes of play: a 14-game season (with three-game playoffs) against AI teams; Live Event Drills, which are bite-sized versions in which players try to hit a specific statistical objective; and head-to-head games against other users.
In head-to-head games, players compete asynchronously against AIs representing the opposing roster. One player gets control for quarters one and three while the second player takes on the AI for quarters two and four.
Currency earned through play (and, as ever, available for purchase with real money) allows players to acquire top performers and construct a winning club along EA Sports’ Ultimate Team model.
NBA Live Mobile has been praised for its gameplay, visuals and animations, though critics have said it more reflects an arcade style of game action and is less like a simulation sport on a console.
In May, NBA Live executive producer Sean O’Brien said that EA is “committed to the console space,” though focused on bringing “an amazing high-quality basketball game to a global audience.
“The best way to do that,” reasoned O’Brien, “is through the fastest growing, largest and most accessible gaming platform: mobile.”