EA announced today that a downloadable version of NCAA Basketball 09 will be appearing on the Live Marketplace next Wednesday, March 11th. The game will be an XBox exclusive and will cost 1200 points. No word yet on whether it will be available in all regions or will see a limited release.
Astute college basketball fans will notice that the game actually releases before the 65 teams in the tournament are announced. EA plans to release the game with 2008's bracket and then update the teams on March 18th at the same time that the full retail game gets its roster update. The downloadable version is said to differ from the retail in that you can only through the bracket and other game modes are not available. There does not appear to be any incentive for owners of the retail game to pick up the XBLA version of the game except for achievement points.
Two questions that I have that weren't answered from the press release are: 1) Will the 2008 tournament still be playable after the roster update or will it overwrite the previous roster? 2) Since the game is said to feature an authentic reproduction of Ford Field will the other venues be accurately reproduced as well or will we be playing the 2008 Final Four in Detroit until the roster update?
Now time to blow your mind... Until this season, EA's NCAA basketball game was called March Madness. This year they switched and instead of calling it NCAA 09 March Madness, it was called NCAA Basketball 09 when it released to retail. The new downloadable game is called NCAA Basketball 09- March Madness Edition. Madness, indeed.