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The Execution of “NBA Elite 11” by the CEO John Riccitiello

The Execution of “NBA Elite 11” by the CEO John Riccitiello (photo)

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It’s always news when a game gets cancelled. Corporately produced video games can be years in the making, with teams of a hundred people or more working on just the creative side. Moreover, any cancellation of a high-profile title represents not just the scuttling of man-hours and development dollars, but also a squandered opportunity to move thing forwards in terms of creativity or technology.

It’s not a decision made lightly and, in an interview with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, EA CEO John Riccitiello talks about how “NBA Elite 11” went from being an anticipated reboot of the company’s basketball franchise to an embarrassing aborted release:

“I thought about it and I thought, alright, at that point I didn’t know how good [rival game NBA 2K11] would be but the rumors were [that it was going to be] good. So we could have shipped a product we weren’t proud of dead against their game that they are proud of and that we would have been proud of to ship ourselves. We would have probably lost 5-1 in the marketplace against that and firmly cemented a reputation for being one to ship secondary sports titles. We could have put the game back in production and showed up back in time for, say, the All-Star Break… but when you look at the data, typically somewhere between 85 and 90% of basketball games ship between launch date and the All-Star game so we would have been competing for, what, half of the last 10%? And the knock-on effect would have been that the team that would otherwise have been working on the following year’s product would have three fewer months to build it.”

One bug surfaced when the demo for the game hit early this fall. Dubbed the Jesus Glitch, it earned the name because the athletes froze in a crucifixion-like pose.

While Riccitiello’s statements in the whole interview show a certain amount of prudence, they also highlight the dangers of annualized releases. The financial models that publically traded companies like EA or Activison operate on depend them, but when things go awry, all the dominoes can tumble. That said, it’s admirable that EA decided to pull the plug on “NBA Elite 11” rather than try to dupe people into buying a broken game.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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