NBA 2K14 has no love for Nintendo and the Wii U.
2K Sports, the Take-Two Interactive-owned studio responsible for the hit NBA 2K franchise, said on Thursday that its latest basketball game would launch on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on October 1. However, there will be no version for Nintendo's Wii U this year.
Instead, a "distinct and dynamic" experience would come for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, said Jason Argent, senior vice president of sports operations for 2K Sports. He confirmed that NBA 2K14 would be a launch title for both systems.
"In building the best game, we didn't want to take resources away from building on the other platforms," Argent said during a conference call on Thursday. "There will be no Wii U version this year."
Electronics Arts has previously said that it has no games in development for the Wii U.
The 2K Sports decision is notable because NBA 2K13 was one of the launch titles for the Wii U, and even incorporated a unique feature that took advantage of the system's controller display. The move is an indication that the Wii U, which has seen disappointing sales, may not have the clout that it once had.
Its struggles come at a time when there are increasing questions about how the video game industry -- and consoles in particular -- transform in the face of increasing focus on smartphone games and cloud-based offerings.
Nintendo, in particular, has had it particularly rough with a lukewarm reaction to its Wii U console, limited games, and disappointing unit sales and falling profits.
2K Sports, meanwhile, also said that NBA star LeBron James would grace the cover of the NBA 2K14, the first game cover of his career. In addition, James has had a lot of input into the game, according to the company.
"LeBron has been actively involved in the development of the game," Argent said. "He's been involved every step of the way."
Customers who preorder the game will get access to the "King James bonus pack," which includes virtual currency and other James-related perks.
2K Sports created a commercial spot featuring James (but no game play) that aired right before Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.
The NBA 2K franchise has been a juggernaut for 2K Sports, with the title consistently raking in awards and topping rival basketball franchises. NBA 2K14 was the third consecutive title to sell more than 5 million units, and is the most profitable sports title ever for the studio.
Argent said the game was on "on track to exceed anything we've done before."