The WNBA will finally be included in a basketball video game as EA Sports and the league announced on Thursday morning that all 12 WNBA squads and the All-Star teams would be available to play in NBA Live 18. This will be the first time women’s teams will be featured in a basketball video game.
You will be able to play with the WNBA squads in ‘WNBA Play Now’ mode, which will be available offline and online, but WNBA teams won’t be eligible to play NBA teams or in any of the game’s career modes. However, according to Polygon, there is a chance that players could be appear in NBA Live 18‘s The Streets mode, in which players compete in pickup games.
We also got our first look at WNBA gameplay as part of the announcement, featuring stars like Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Elena Delle Donne, and Brittney Griner.
It’s a great first step to bringing the WNBA to more platforms, and NBA Live 18 will hold exclusive rights to the WNBA teams for now — meaning NBA 2K18 will not have the women’s squads this year. As for what the future holds for the WNBA in NBA video games, senior producer Mike Mahar told Polygon that he’s hopeful there will be more expansion in the coming years.
“It’s a great partnership and it expands the options available in the product, and it’s the stepping stone to, probably, some cool implementations with female characters going forward in the game,” Mahar told Polygon. “Future iterations on how they will appear in the product, that will be added later.”
Hopefully we aren’t too far away from a WNBA franchise mode, but for now the Play Now mode will suffice as a strong first step into getting women’s hoops in video games.