Kevin Durant, the cover athlete for NBA Elite 11, "spoke with noticeably more sullenness" in his first comments since EA Sports indefinitely postponed the game. Hearing the news first via Twitter probably did not help his mood.
"They said it wasn't as up to par as they wanted it to be," Durant, the all-star forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, told The Oklahoman. "That's kind of unfortunate. It was kind of cool to see myself on a video game. I guess they'll wait till it gets right. We'll see."
On Monday, EA Sports said NBA Elite 11 was delayed, citing quality concerns and an overwhelmingly negative public response to the game's demo, which released Sept. 21. Since EA Sports did not specify a new release date, some are questioning if the game will even come out. One analyst thinks the delay will knock $60 million off Electronic Arts' revenue in the financial quarter beginning tomorrow.
Durant's palpable disappointment is quite understandable. He'd been on the cover of NCAA March Madness 08 and was poised to become only the third player with appearances on the covers of the college and pro games. He is also an enthusiastic gamer, telling ESPN in July that he owns two consoles, is "big into Madden," and can usually be found on his Xbox 360, red controller in hand.
"All I do is play video games. I play all the time," he told ESPN.
Durant didn't get an advance copy of the game, either, though I'm not sure what the custom is here or if that's any further signal of when EA realized this game was in trouble. Sports titles probably have the shortest time period between going to gold master and retail availability.
What might tip off that this was an extreme last-minute call is the manner in which Durant found out. "Twitter," he told the Oklahoman, smiling. Social media is increasingly a way folks get wind of big news, even news personal to them. I do hope someone with EA Sports followed this up with a phone call though.
Virtual Kevin Durant Gets Sacked [The Oklahoman]