Basketball has been playable in video games since the first home console, the Magnavox Odyssey, gave us Basketball! in 1973. Since then the sport, and how it’s translated to gaming, has evolved. The WNBA is a bit younger, though, arriving in 1996 — only two years after NBA Live ’95 debuted in the fall of ’94. Interestingly, women’s basketball has never been represented in the medium, but EA is finally ready to crack the mold. The WNBA will make its gaming debut when NBA Live 18 launches later this year.
All WNBA teams will feature in the upcoming title, as well as the league’s entire roster. Check out a first look in the clip below:
In a statement via Sports Illustrated, NBA Live executive producer Sean O’Brien said the following of the announcement:
“We are extremely proud to partner with the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) on this groundbreaking occasion. The WNBA is home to some of the most incredible athletes on the planet, and we’ve been working hard to integrate them into our game in an authentic and meaningful way. This is only a taste of what we have in store, and look forward to working with the league on more great integrations in the franchise in the future.”
WNBA president, Linda Borders, echoed the excitement of fans who have long-awaited the league’s overdue inclusion:
“We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as NBA LIVE 18 becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA’s full roster of teams and players,” said Borders. “With EA’s expertise and ingenuity, the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league, enabling fans to experience the WNBA in a new, exciting way.”
NBA Live 2018 hits PS4 and Xbox One on September 19.
The franchise hasn’t been at its best over the last several years, struggling to recapture the footing that launched it to the top of sports sims in the 1990s. If you’ve since abandoned the NBA Live series for 2K, will the WNBA’s inclusion encourage your return? Share your thoughts in the comments below.