EA Sports' next-gen take on the NBA will use constantly updated data from real-world basketball games to power its AI, according to its developers.
Speaking to Polygon, NBA Live 14 producer Ryan Ferwerda said the game uses data provided by Synergy Sports to drive its AI, which ensures that the players' stats, strengths and weaknesses are always up to date. Synergy Sports is a technology company that provides real-time stats to every team within the NBA and EA Sports exclusively, and tracks the types of plays run, player movements, player tendencies and more. According to Ferwerda, NBA Live 14's use of this data has only been made possible because of the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
"... Once I go to my different medium — my video game — if that's not completely relevant with that's going on in the real world, there's a disconnect."
"The game draws the latest data from the day's NBA match, so if you go in and the Warriors are playing the Knicks at home, that game will be available to play in NBA Live with today's data," he said. "As the NBA season progresses, every day we create new challenges based on the season you're playing as key moments happen throughout the week.
"So the second you turn the game on, there's new stuff to do every day. This would not have been possible with the current-gen, not with the frequency we do it at."
According to Ferwerda, all the players' ratings will be driven dynamically through the data the game receives, and the game will quietly update itself as new information is available. For players at home, the experience should be seamless, with no need to download updates or patches in order to receive new content.
Aside from updating players' stats on a daily basis, everything from footwear to player appearance will also evolve to reflect what's happening in the NBA. So if a certain player changes footwear or switches allegiance to a different sports brand, the game will reflect this. If a player hurts his ankle and needs to play differently in real life, his stats will be changed accordingly.
Sean O'Brien, the executive producer of NBA Live 14, told Polygon that the detail updates are important because in the culture of basketball, the details matter.
"It's the idea that I can read an article on ESPN.com, I could be watching a game on TV, and once I go to my different medium — my video game — it that's out of date, if that's not completely relevant with that's going on in the real world, there's a disconnect," he said. "So we owe it to our consumer to ensure that we're in step with the NBA season throughout the entire season, whether it's something as simple as the shoe a player wears.
"Every player is somebody's favorite player, so every guy has to be right."