An eleventh hour decision to delay the introduction of EA Sports' new basketball game franchise, NBA Elite, has meant that this season's new rosters will be instead delivered as a free download for last year's NBA Live 10, with NBA JAM becoming a standalone product for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the Wii.

So that's bad news for those looking forward to NBA Elite 11's new take on basketball, but good news for wallets as NBA Live 10 can be found brand new for half of the €59 / $59 price tag that Elite 11 would have gone for.

NBA Elite 11 was due for release on October 5 in North America and October 8 in European regions, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the same dates as rival series NBA 2K11 - now fronted by basketball legend Michael Jordan - is to hit store shelves.

Company president Peter Moore broke the news on the EA Sports website, committing to a full season's worth of updates for NBA Live 10 but declining to detail a re-scheduled release date for Elite 11.

He also announced the decision to release the 360 and PS3 versions of a fan-pleasing NBA JAM remake separately rather than as a bundled incentive for purchasers of Elite 11.

All this is being taken to mean that NBA Elite won't make its series debut until this time next year. Whether the remake of 1993's classic 2-on-2 NBA JAM will find its way into homes as a boxed product or a download is not yet known.

Originally announced for the Nintendo Wii, some of NBA JAM's offline modes had been swapped out in favor of online multiplayer on 360 and PS3. If EA decide to include those offline treats, it gives them the option of selling it in stores alongside the Wii version for substantially more than the €14 /$15 that today's premium download games fetch.

Read Peter Moore's statement on EA