NBA Live 13 was to be a downloadable game, according to Microsoft's Major Nelson.
The Microsoft spokesman made the announcement in a tweet sent earlier today, saying, "NBA Live 13 was supposed to be today's XBLA title, but EA made the decision not to launch it today," Oct. 3.
The confirmation comes just days after NBA Live 13's publisher, Electronic Arts, canceled the game and vowed that the NBA Live franchise will return in 2013. According to EA Sports executive vice president Andrew Wilson, it "wasn't an easy decision, but it's the right one for our fans." Prior to the cancellation, EA Sports representatives refused to comment on speculation that the company had turned NBA Live 13 from a disc-based title into a download-only game.
That silence is continuing — we reached out to NBA Live 13 developer EA Tiburon after Major Nelson sent the tweet today, and a representative for the studio told Polygon, "We have no comment."
NBA Live 13 is the second consecutive NBA simulation title that EA canceled. The publisher rebranded its NBA Live franchise as "NBA Elite" in 2010 with the intent of launching NBA Elite 11 in the fall, but delayed and then canceled that game because it wasn't ready for release. In April 2011, EA announced it was going back to the NBA Live name, and was developing NBA Live 13 at EA Tiburon with a launch planned for fall 2012.
EA's most recent basketball sim was NBA Live 10, which came out in October 2009.