Pricetag On NBA Elite's Delay: $60 Million And Counting

Yesterday, we reported that a delay of NBA Elite 11's release lasting past the end of the year jeopardizes the sale of as many as 1.1 million copies. Today, the analyst offering that estimate put a dollar figure on it.

In a note to investors today, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter said to expect Electronic Arts' holiday quarter revenues to drop to $1.46 billion from $1.52 billion, reflecting roughly a million unsold copies of the $60 game.

NBA Elite 11, whose marketing run up failed to woo gamers, and whose demo faced harsh criticism, was postponed indefinitely by EA Sports on Monday. It had been due for release on Oct. 5. EA Sports had attempted a complete overhaul of the game centering on a new control set.

This places EA Sports' startling delay in a different light: If not releasing the game on time could cost it as much as $60 million, that means the publisher figured that releasing it in this state would ultimately cost it more than $60 million.

That's in addition to whatever minimum guarantee that is most likely a part of EA Sports contract with the NBA, Pachter told Kotaku. "My guess is that the guarantee is small, since it's a non-exclusive license, and that the NBA will be made whole by Take-Two's higher incremental sales [of NBA 2K11]. EA is paying a royalty on NBA Jam as well, so the NBA won't suffer too much."

NBA Jam, the reboot of the 2-on-2 arcade hit from the 1990s, had been planned as a free download with a code included in NBA Jam on the PS3 and Xbox 360. (It will release on the Wii, with content not available to the other two consoles, on Oct. 5) EA Sports said this game will be available for the PS3 and 360 by the holiday shopping season, but didn't specify if it would be a digital download or retail disc.

Asked for a crystal ball projection, Pachter thinks it will be a disc release.

"A $50 Wii game will likely not command a $60 price point on PS3 or 360 if it's a port," Pachter told Kotaku. "Because they intend to sell the game for $50 on the Wii, they can't really cut price below $50 on the PS3 or 360. And if they offer it as a download, it will be tough to command a $50 price point, even if the file is small enough to download."

"My educated opinion is $50 on all platforms, disc only, with a download offered whenever NBA Elite ships," he concluded.

NBA Elite 11 Delay Could Cost EA $60 Million - Analyst
[GameSpot]