Ever since NBA Jam was released for the current generation of consoles, gamers were already pondering the future of the franchise. Today EA announced the next update to the popular arcade classic, NBA Jam: On Fire Edition – which will be available for download on PSN and XBLA this Fall.

The first update in the new edition will be an improved artificial intelligence. EA will be using the same AI they used in Fight Nightwhich is a system that learns from your habits and adapts to become more challenging. So those who have a tendency to always play on the lower half of the screen, or take three point shots from the same spot, will be forced to change up their strategies.

The AI in NBA Jam was cheap and had a tendency to turn on the heat when it behind by a certain amount. It was predictable and easy to deal with up notice, so it will be interesting to see how this new system plays out.

The central theme of NBA Jam: On Fire will be online play. In the ‘JAM Arena’ players will be able to team up with friends against opponents around the world in online competitions. EA hasn’t released any details on the new mode – though it sounds like there will be online tournaments and leaderboards.

Players will also be able to team up co-op style through a campaign called ‘Road Trip.’ In this co-op mode gamers will have to compete in several challenges that will put them up against many of the NBA’s greatest athletes from the past and present.

NBA Jam Coming to PS3 and 360 With A Catch

One thing players missed in the recent update of NBA Jam was the ability to switch players during gameplay. That all changes with the On Fire Edition. ‘Tag Mode’ and ‘Team Fire’ make their return allowing the whole team to ignite and set the hoops ablaze.

Recently, the iOS version of NBA Jam received roster updates – and with the On Fire Edition the consoles will get new NBA stars and legends. New dunk animations will also be added along with JAM challenges and secret unlockable teams.

Along with this announcement EA also confirmed their next NBA ‘simulation’ franchise will be launched in the  Fall of 2012 – an interesting fact, considering they don’t refer to the title as NBA EliteNBA Elite never got off the ground last year and EA caught some bad press when they released a buggy demo for the title. Could NBA Elite be returning next year under a different title? Possibly, we’ll just have to wait and see. Good thing we have a lot of backboards to break in NBA Jam until then. BOOMSHAKALAKA!!

NBA Jam: On Fire Edition will be available for download via PSN and XBLA this Fall. Which NBA stars or secret characters are you hoping to see in the update?

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