I’ll admit this: from 95′ until about 2006, I played NBA Live like a religious fanatic who stays in church. Sure, NBA Courtside held my attention on the N64 only because it was the first video game in which I saw someone go between the legs on a dunk. Soon as the better of me came around, EA Sports finally stopped giving a shit in making a quality basketball game and my allegiances went with 2K Sports NBA series.

For all the Live fans out there – today is a sad day indeed.

EA Sports isn’t calling their flagship basketball game NBA Live anymore, but rather NBA Elite. Bullshit? Yes quite. After cutting out 2K and getting an exclusive license from the NFL (barring 2K to make any real football games), 2K went ape shit on their NBA series and effectively murdered Live. You would think EA would care to make a better game since 2K is actually dishing out yearly ass whoopings but no, they’re pulling a name change to claim everything’s “in the past”.

Yup, it’s official, for the coming season and all foreseeable subsequent titles, NBA Live will be known as NBA Elite. That means for this year’s version of EA Sports basketball you’ll be playing NBA Elite 11. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Here’s EA’s official statement on the name change: “We knew it was time to leave the past behind. We have exciting and significant changes coming to our NBA game this year that will usher in the future of basketball videogames. We look forward to releasing information on exactly how we’ll be doing that over the next few months.”

Kotaku is reporting (via the latest issue of OXM) not only the name change, but that there’s an entirely new direction for the mechanics of EA Sports’ NBA series as well. According to the latest issue of OXM, “”If the left stick is your body, then the right stick serves as your hands and the ball. Bouncing the ball behind our back, for instance, required rolling the stick down and around – the same movement our hands would make to pull off the trick.”

Sounds a whole lot like the treatment that has been given to NHL in years past, not to mention Skate, Fight Night and myriad other sports titles outside of the EA Sports label. Rest assured, we’ll have a lot more info once E3 rolls around in mid-June. Stay tuned to IGN for more on this interesting development.

Not saying anything’s completely wrong with a name change (see Fight Night) but if EA is willing to go all out in making their game the best in the market – why not start at the gameplay first?

NBA Live Is Now NBA Elite [IGN]