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Monday Tip-Off: The Self-Destruction of NBA Playgrounds 2

Kevin Durant shoots in NBA Playgrounds 2

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with some further thoughts on NBA Playgrounds 2, and how the game appears to be self-destructing before it’s even released.

Back in May, I wrote an article discussing the opportunity that NBA Playgrounds 2 had to become the definitive arcade basketball game of the current generation. In the immediate wake of the game’s indefinite postponement, such a suggestion still felt somewhat plausible. As the weeks and months have passed, however, it’s starting to feel laughable. We haven’t heard a single thing since the game was postponed, and despite vague promises in the game’s official Facebook group, there’s little to back up the idea that “good things come to those who wait”.

Right now, Saber Interactive is insisting that the game isn’t cancelled, and that the release was pushed back for positive reasons. While that may ultimately turn out to be true, their silence is not inspiring confidence. Gamers are starting to feel sceptical and cynical, rather than anticipating an announcement that’s still “coming soon”. While the game may indeed come out, it’s going to have a tough time living up to the hype and expectations set by its mysterious delay. Even if it turns out to be an improvement on the first NBA Playgrounds and a solid game, the opportunity to become the arcade basketball game of this generation may have slipped through Saber’s fingers.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #254

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Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and myself as we discuss the cover leak for the Standard Edition of NBA 2K19, the situation with NBA Playgrounds 2, and our plans for this year’s games. Our Week in Basketball Gaming also returns, along with some other fun topics.

On this week’s show…

  • It seems the NBA 2K19 Standard Edition cover has been leaked, with Giannis Antetokoumpo being the featured player. We discuss the choice, and the situation with the Early Tip-Off Weekend being exclusive to the 20th Anniversary Edition.
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 was indefinitely postponed a month ago, and we still haven’t heard anything further. Is there any big announcement that could feasibly make up for the lack of hype?
  • What are our plans for NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19 when they’re released in September?
  • HAWK23 has made a welcome return to the community, and is currently looking at fixing up the links for the Ultimate Base Roster for NBA 2K12 and NBA 2K14 PC.
  • We reflect once again on our own history with modding, and why we don’t mod as much as we used to. We’re not shutting the door on the idea, though.
  • If an NBL 2K or NBL Live game were ever to be released, what would it be like? We have some fun with the idea.
  • We wrap up Episode #254 of the NLSC Podcast with a short discussion of the NBA Draft, and the (latest) Dwight Howard trade.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #250

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Episode #250 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for another milestone episode, in which we have quite a few news stories to cover (and it’s not even the preview season yet!). We also have a few tales from our past week in basketball gaming, and thoughts on the Conference Finals.

On this week’s show…

  • A teaser for EA Play has confirmed NBA Live 19 – just in case there was any doubt – and tipped off the speculation as to who will be appearing on the cover this year.
  • Game Informer has posted an article providing us with some hints at the direction of NBA Live. While it’s not much to go on, it is still promising to hear.
  • A Memphis-based ESPN station took a few shots at NBA Live 18. A little awkward, given ESPN’s exclusive deal with EA Sports.
  • The latest Game of Zones episode made fun of NBA 2K18 and Ronnie 2K. Their response was admirable, but gamers weren’t letting them off that easy.
  • From Virtual Coppers to Virtual Currency, 2K’s promotion of the latest VC sale was a little on the nose.
  • It seems Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have done some mo-cap work for NBA 2K19. We discuss what that might mean for this year’s game.
  • PlayStation 4 users have received refunds for NBA Playgrounds 2. While it might just be a mandatory show of goodwill, it’s not a great look for the delayed title.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included a return to 2K Pro-Am, followed by an abrupt return to 2v2 on MyCOURT. The 90s All-Stars collection also continues to expand in Ultimate Team.
  • We wrap up Episode #250 of the NLSC Podcast with our thoughts on the latest results from the 2018 NBA Conference Finals, and make a couple of predictions.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NBA Playgrounds 2 Pre-Orders Receiving Refunds

Lonzo Ball dunking in NBA Playgrounds 2

As reported by The Gaming Tailgate, PlayStation 4 gamers are being refunded for their pre-orders of NBA Playgrounds 2. The game was originally set to launch today, but was abruptly postponed late last week. No new release date was set, but the announcement from Saber Interactive promised that the delay was in the interest of creating the best game possible.

While issuing a refund is certainly a gesture of goodwill, and may indeed have been compulsory for Saber to do, it does come across as a discouraging sign in the wake of the game’s delay. The forthcoming game has been met with some derision and scepticism from gamers who were unsatisfied with last year’s release, unhappy that a sequel is coming out so soon in lieu of further updates to the original, or both. These setbacks can only make NBA Playgrounds 2 a tougher sell.

With all that being said, hopefully the delay will turn out to be for a good reason, and the finished product will be worth the wait. We’ll continue to cover the situation either way, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, as well as in this topic in the Other Basketball Games section of the NLSC Forum.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #249

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Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I for a discussion of the past week in basketball and basketball gaming, including a new executive producer for NBA Live, the delay of NBA Playgrounds 2, the 2018 Conference Finals, and what we’ve been playing.

On this week’s show…

  • Seann Graddy is the new executive producer of the NBA Live series, with Sean O’Brien moving on to a new role at EA Sports. What does this mean for the series moving forward?
  • Viewership numbers for the NBA 2K League continue to dwindle. Is the League a flop – or on the way to being one – and what is it doing wrong?
  • NBA Playgrounds 2 has been abruptly delayed, less than a week ahead of its release. Saber Interactive are promising great things, but gamers are sceptical.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included more Ultimate Team challenges, LIVE Run, and some bargain retro game pick-ups. There’s also been a noteworthy development in the modding community.
  • We wrap up Episode #249 of the NLSC Podcast with a discussion of the 2018 Conference Finals.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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The Friday Five: 5 Hopes for NBA Playgrounds 2

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a breakdown of the main hopes that I have for NBA Playgrounds 2.

Originally set for release next week on May 22nd, NBA Playgrounds 2 has now been delayed to an unspecified date. While some basketball gamers have expressed their excitement about a follow up to last year’s title, others aren’t so thrilled. Some gamers feel that it’s coming too soon after the original, and are unhappy that support for the first NBA Playgrounds is ending with a few unfulfilled promises. Others simply didn’t care for the first game at all, and feel little incentive to give its sequel a chance. The indefinite postponement likely doesn’t allay their concerns or scepticism.

Even if the delay turns out to be for the best as Saber Interactive are insisting, NBA Playgrounds 2 is going to be a tough sell for some gamers. It’s going to take a quality release to win gamers over, with clear improvements that wouldn’t be possible via a patch. Whatever has led to the delay will also have to be a big deal. The previews have been somewhat promising so far though, and I do believe that NBA Playgrounds 2 has a great opportunity to become the definitive arcade hoops game of the current generation. There are a few things that it must do in order to achieve that however, which I’m outlining in the form of five hopes ahead of its eventual release.

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NBA Playgrounds 2 Delayed

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After releasing a trailer and confirming a release date of May 22nd last week, NBA Playgrounds 2 has been delayed. Saber Interactive posted the following announcement on the game’s official Facebook page:

We’ve got some news to share, but we want to start by saying ‘good things come to those who wait.’ There are exciting things brewing with the NBA Playgrounds franchise that we think will take arcade basketball to new levels.

We can’t tell you everything now, but we can tell you that this means our launch date of May 22nd will be moved out. Please be patient with us, we promise that NBA Playgrounds 2 will be better than ever. We’ll have more details to share soon.

Whether this means Saber are currently working on additional modes, content, or both is unclear at this point, but in any event, the release of the game has been pushed back. No new date has been specified as yet, but presumably NBA Playgrounds 2 will still be coming out before NBA Live 19 and NBA 2K19. As soon as any further details are made available, we’ll be sure to post them.

In the meantime, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the Other Basketball Games section of the NLSC Forum.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #248

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Episode #248 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we discuss the new gameplay trailer for NBA Playgrounds 2, catch up on a week of basketball gaming, and offer up some predictions for the 2018 NBA Conference Finals and award winners.

On this week’s show…

  • NBA Playgrounds 2 is coming out May 22nd, as revealed by the new gameplay trailer. We’re feeling optimistic about the game, but we do have some specific hopes and expectations.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included an unlikely return to 2K Pro-Am; it didn’t go so well. A seven game series of 2v2 on MyCOURT was a lot more fun, though. We also talk Ultimate Team in NBA Live 18, and Basketball Classics on Steam.
  • We wrap up Episode #248 of the NLSC Podcast with a preview of the 2018 NBA Conference Finals, and predictions for this year’s award winners.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NBA Playgrounds 2 Coming May 22nd; New Trailer

NBA Playgrounds 2: Dunking with Lonzo Ball

The release date for NBA Playgrounds 2 has been confirmed as May 22nd on all platforms, and the game is now available to preorder. As we noted a couple of weeks ago in Episode #246 of the NLSC Podcast, this is earlier than expected given the initial release window of Summer 2018. Instead, it’s in line with the release of the first game in May of last year.

A new trailer has also been released, showing off some gameplay highlights. The trailer also spotlights a few of the game’s key features, including the new player models and animation system, competitive online play, offline season mode, new power-ups, redesigned AI, dedicated servers, four player online co-op, and new venues. Check it out below!

Will you be picking up NBA Playgrounds 2? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion in this topic in the Other Basketball Games section of the NLSC Forum!

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #246

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Episode #246 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we talk about content updates for NBA Live 18, NBA 2K developers soliciting feedback on Twitter, questions regarding NBA Playgrounds 2’s release date, and more, including another week in basketball gaming and the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • A new roster has come through for NBA Live 18, and while it’s welcome, it also highlights how the official updates need to improve. Some of the new content in Ultimate Team has also sparked controversy among NBA Live gamers, though it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  • Beluba has been soliciting feedback for NBA 2K19 through Twitter polls. We’re pleased to see those efforts, though the voting has been a little surprising so far.
  • Pre-order information for NBA Playgrounds 2 mentions a May release. As we note, that isn’t Summer anywhere on Earth.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming has centred on NBA Live 18, as we take a momentary break from NBA 2K18. Instead of MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am, it’s all about The One and Ultimate Team for us right now.
  • We wrap up Episode #246 of the NLSC Podcast with our usual chat about real basketball, including the ongoing 2018 NBA Playoffs and LeBron James’ future.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Monday Tip-Off: A New Opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2

NBA Playgrounds 2 Header

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how Saber Interactive has a new opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2.

As I mentioned in Episode #244 of the NLSC Podcast, I’ve been meaning to write an article on how NBA Playgrounds was a missed opportunity for Saber Interactive. The game was solid and generally well-received, but several gamers, myself included, felt that it could’ve been more than what it was. While there were several fans that shot down any and all constructive criticism, often quite toxically, not all of us were ready to make excuses for its shortcomings. NBA Playgrounds had an opportunity to be this generation’s definitive arcade basketball game, but unfilled promises and potential led to it falling short of achieving that status.

However, Saber Interactive now has a new opportunity with NBA Playgrounds 2. While some gamers are questioning the release of a sequel so close to the original (and essentially abandoning further updates for the prior release), I think it’s a sound idea. NBA Jam Tournament Edition came out a year after the original Jam. EA Sports likewise released NBA Jam: On Fire Edition a year after the 2010 reboot. Each built upon its predecessor, taking the genre to new heights. Saber now has an opportunity to do the same thing with NBA Playgrounds 2, learning from their first attempt and taking gamer feedback into account. Hopefully, they’ve been taking notes.

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #245

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Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Kenny and I as we catch up on an eventful week of basketball gaming news, discuss what we’ve been doing on the virtual hardwood, and give our thoughts on the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

On this week’s show…

  • EA’s chief design officer Patrick Söderlund recently spoke out about the company’s reputation, and their intent to rehabilitate their image in the wake of the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 controversy. We discuss how continuing to adopt a consumer-friendly model with NBA Live will surely benefit the brand moving forward.
  • A deal has been struck to broadcast the NBA 2K League exclusively on Twitch, which certainly seems like a good fit. Once again, we consider the League’s potential impact on the rest of us as we look ahead to NBA 2K19.
  • Saber Interactive has announced NBA Playgrounds 2 for a Summer 2018 release. We’re excited and hopeful for the sequel, but there are some key areas where it must show improvement.
  • Namo Gamo has released Basketball Classics on Steam Early Access. This new retro-inspired basketball gaming experience has a lot of potential, and is already quite impressive.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming included taking on more challenges in NBA Live 18’s Ultimate Team, and a return to NBA 2K17. NLSC GrindTime may have also played its last session of 2K Pro-Am, at least for a while.
  • We wrap up Episode #245 of the NLSC Podcast with some discussion of real basketball, including Andrew Bogut heading home to play in the NBL, the first week of the 2018 NBA Playoffs, and Ben Simmons’ Rookie of the Year credentials.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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NBA Playgrounds 2 Announced; Coming Summer 2018

NBA Playgrounds 2: Legends

In a post over on the official PlayStation blog, Saber Interactive CEO Matthew Karcher has announced that NBA Playgrounds 2 will be released in Summer 2018. The sequel to last year’s release will feature new modes and content, as well as other enhancements based on fan feedback.

Two of the most significant additions in the upcoming game are intended to expand the experience both online and offline. First of all, NBA Playgrounds 2 will include a worldwide online league called the Playgrounds Championship, featuring several divisions supporting both solo and co-op play. The game will also have dedicated servers for better matchmaking and a smoother online experience. Four-player online co-op has also been added.

Second, offline play has been expanded with a new Season Mode. The mode will see users take their team through the regular season and Playoffs, all the way to the NBA Championship. NBA Playgrounds 2 will feature over 200 current and former NBA players, which will again be unlockable by collecting them in card packs. The blog also mentions enhancements to player models, improvements to the artificial intelligence, some expanded gameplay mechanics, and additional music tracks.

A teaser trailer has also been released, which you can check out below:

What do you think? Did you enjoy last year’s game? Are you looking forward to the sequel? Have your say in the comments section below, and feel free to join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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