Feature Article
OS Roundtable: Are 2K12's Online Gaffes a Major Concern?

NBA 2K has never had reliable servers for online gaming, and it's starting to take a toll on their image. With EA out of the NBA game for now, it seems as though 2K is wasting valuable time to recreate what is broken.

Too many times gamers are disconnected in the middle of a game, too many times you aren't able to even log on to your Online Association, and too many times (every day to be exact) are the servers down for maintenance.

So with that said, I ask you, OS staff writers, are NBA 2K12's online gaffes a major concern?

TJ Surovy: Yes, it is a major concern. The major addition to this year’s game is the Online Association mode, and if the server issues aren’t resolved, gamers are going to avoid it like Joakim Noah avoids the barber. 

In addition, 2k is trying to pull in some extra revenue by requiring gamers to pay extra for the ability to use teams from NBA's Greatest Mode online. NBA 2k12 owners aren’t going to pay out that extra cash if they know that the online experience is going to be plagued with server issues. 

While 2k has made improvements to virtually every other aspect of the NBA 2k experience, their continued failure to ensure a smooth online experience should definitely be a concern to those gamers who value the online experience above anything else. Issues with 2k’s online servers seem to be as inevitable as another Yao Ming foot injury. Fortunately for us, 2k hasn’t retired their online mode yet, but it appears to need some reconstructive surgery.

Matthew Coe: The online servers are a huge concern and a major problem for NBA2K12 and it's image among gamers. The online problems weresupposed to be fixed this year. Online Association was touted in the online insight as a major new feature, but gamers can barely even play the mode. Other than the removal of crews, buyers had a good feeling with nothing but positive buzz and good vibes coming out about 2K12.

Since the game's release the tone has shifted. The NBA 2K website is still in the "Coming Soon" phase and the first day of NBA 2K's online service can only be described as a disaster. With NBA 2K12's new My2K service and all of the problems, it's been a very poor first impression.

And when you look at NBA 2K's history of online service, I don't see a lot of reason for optimism that it's going to improve a tremendous amount before we're staring down the barrel of 2K13.

Phil Varckette: This seems to be a major concern and a recurring issue with this game year after year. It is unacceptable for a game to come out of the gate on release day with the servers in disarray. The guys down at 2K had a whole development cycle to make sure online worked smoothly. Rarely am I even able to access the online features, which is a big part of sports gaming these days. I finally got a roster downloaded after a week, but I still need sliders. Plus, in a year where 2K Share will be heavily relied upon for our roster fixes, I shouldn't have to try to do this more than once. 

The average gamer who runs into these issues may not be so patient. 2K Sports needs to realize that just because the game itself is great, you can still turn off fans by these frustrating issues.

Mike Kilroy: Apparently, the 2K servers are in a work stoppage, too. It's unfortunate, because what is otherwise a stellar effort is marred by the online inconsistencies. 

Online components of sports games are a major part of the experience in the 21st century. Having that portion of your product perform like the last man on your bench is unacceptable. That's not to say these issues can't be fixed. It's just a shame online is a mess in the early stages of release.

Steven Bartlett: If we are talking a major concern in alienating fans, then I don't think I can categorize 2K's lack of high performance servers as a big issue. NBA 2K12 has continuously focused on gameplay for years now, and the foundation is so strong that the fans take the game as it is - weak servers or not. The offline replay value in this title is endless, and will continue be the well in which 2K's success draws from. The fans will continue to love the realism behind the title. Without the brilliant gameplay, online is irrelevant. Their priorities are correct.

In terms of falling behind and losing market share to the competition, I do think the servers play a role. The success of this generation's titles across all genres, not just sports gaming, hinges on multiplayer online., such as games like Call of Duty and Halo.

It's interesting how this franchise has fallen off the path that launched its initial success on the Dreamcast. If 2K can construct servers and grow a culture around this title as a true online multiplayer game, then it's quite possible that this series could compete with other genres as a record selling video game. A new online sports gaming model might be needed to grow the interest. The NBA JAM model of a quick 10-, 15-minute match falls in line with a team deathmatch in first person shooters - super addicting and convenient to all gamers.

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Member Comments
# 1 qnzballa5 @ 10/13/11 03:05 PM
Of course its a major concern...for offline gamers its not going to be.. For Online gamers like myself its a major concern.. Not just the servers tho but its features.. Not saving playbooks, coach settings etc.. Yet we had this for 2k9 n b4.. Sad
# 2 hoop xyience @ 10/13/11 03:08 PM
If the game was sold new at 35$ then NO...

But for 65$ YES its a major concern..

Why settle for half of a game sold at full price..
# 3 RedSceptile @ 10/13/11 03:14 PM
I'll keep it simple

# 4 HipHopandBasketball @ 10/13/11 03:15 PM
Online has been a pain for me. When I get into a game, right after tip off a message will come and say that the game has encountered an "error". Cmon 2k. If you guys would just fix the servers. And also the nba 2k website still hasn't come up yet. It just says "coming soon".

And then when I get in a game, it freakin ridiculous. Cheesers have found the weaknesses in the game already and its only been out for 2 weeks. Last year, cheesers abused the hopstep and the euro step online. 2k fixed this. but now cheesers are abusing 3pointers and steals. In this game you can steal almost anything, and if you get 3 inches of space at the 3 point line you can knock down the shot. 2k needs to turn the steal and 3pt success down a bit. if they can do that and fix the servers, 2k12 would be PERFECT.
# 5 JWiLL02 @ 10/13/11 03:16 PM
My biggest issue is the removal of features/modes, it just doesn't make any sense. 2k may have the only game this generation that is moving backwards online every year. In 2k8 we had ranked and unranked lobbies of different difficulty levels, leagues, tournaments, saved settings, a working VIP system, player % ranks, a functioning leaderboard, etc.

Now we have....quick games, team up and a poorly functioning online association? It's just baffling. I don't understand the decision making.

I'd like to hear one good reason why they removed single season leagues. The only people who were really asking for online association are here on OS. 95% of 2k online gamers would rather single season leagues where you can choose the # of teams. Even those rarely finished because people would become inactive, what hope does a 30 team association have?

Even looking past all the server and latency issues, they're moving in the wrong direction online. I can't think of a single other gaming franchise this generation where that holds true.
# 6 UniversalNoob @ 10/13/11 03:22 PM
It is a great issue. I'm a member of a online league community. We are over 30 players and are now in a lockout like the Real NBA players. locked out from 2ksports. We're playing on PC and there its not possible to play a game in online association, cause the benchmark is not saving for online association. and with no benchmark, the game forces you to play with 15 fps. all we can do is wait for a patch, but in the recent announce, ronnie just speaks of patch headed to microsoft/sony, so i think, patch is not for pc...
# 7 truintellectplaya @ 10/13/11 03:26 PM
Nope, this has been a issue for quite some time. As I have stated the last time a played a 2K game online was NBA 2K8, some claim that was there best online game and it failed because of plug pullers and such. Did I stop buying NBA 2K even though Live was on the market, NO. It is a concern but it is not a major concern. A major concern must have major penalties for handling it wrong and there are no major penalties for 2K not having it's online game correct, just like there were never any major penalties for MLB THE Show not holding up online. Answer this for me, why have I never seen a roundtable about MLB THE Show and how poor there online operated?

Once again, I think people are reaching with this. Yes, I want it fixed even though I am not into online like that, but making article after article beating a dead horse is really not the answer. At the end of the day, 2K will not be good online next year either and they will not lose significant share to Live. Too strong of product recognition at this point.
# 8 JCEVO @ 10/13/11 03:29 PM
sports games online period is A MAJOR CONCERN. i havent played a GREAT ONLINE SPORTS GAME YET and i have played great online games is other GENRE.

i hate that people bash 2k so bad online but think EA is great at it. i laugh at the mere thought of it

i want online to feel like offline as close as possible so no lag compensation, same game tempo, no disconnection unless the players do it. streamlined play to play basically
# 9 qnzballa5 @ 10/13/11 03:36 PM
I agree jwill thats whats more concerning to me. I've been a fan of 2k since dreamcast days.. Its sad to see where online has become.. Lets not talk about how bad the servers r for a second cuz we all know about the network errors, lag, takes so long to get into quick match, n teamup.. Lets talk about the features..

We had an Online menu for online option for 2k9,2k8 n every 2k before that.. It was to save playbooks, rotations, coach settings. What happen 2k? 2k10 yall took all of those features out y??? For online yall used to show opponent records, rank, dnf before every gm now we cant?? And another thing that excuse about taking rank lobbies out is old now.. Listen certain gamers r gonna cheat regardless but have yall noticed ever since yall took the rank lobbies out there has been serious server issues.. Y not give us a choice to play halloffame rank?? Or if the casual gamerz want to play allstar then let them.. Y restrict gamers to one setting? This way yall can please the hardcore gamers n casual??

I mean if yall keep saying gamers will cheat n lose on purpose then get a better matchmaking system then.. Let it be random for rank but let us choose if we want to get matched up with halloffame rank sim setting or not.. N hae leaderboards for that.. Let leaderboards be about quality of games not about who can play 500 games in 1 month come on 2k..

There is so much i can talk about online it can be pages worth how i can make online much better.. Just do something about it.. Bring back unrank lobbies for halloffame come on 2k.. Y is the jumpshot feedback gone for online?? Y is it allowed for cheaters to still dropglitch since 2k2 on dreamcast?? Get it together for online asap.. No more excuses
# 10 ManiacMatt1782 @ 10/13/11 03:36 PM
# 11 qnzballa5 @ 10/13/11 03:41 PM
Also one thing i noticed.. Not trying to bash offline gamers but ive seen them come into these threads n say who cares about online.. Of course they will say that so their opinion doesnt matter.. They say they dont play online cuz of cheesers etc.. Ok if u dont play online then y come into an online thread saying its not a concern?? Of course its not going to b a concern for u if u dont play it lmaoo ignorant fans.. For serious online gamers like myself we all know its a major concern n has been a concern for many years with their series.. Its getting to a point where they are going backwards n doesnt know how to treat Online gamers..
# 12 NINJAK2 @ 10/13/11 03:47 PM
It is a big concern imo. I don't think it's critical to the overall success of the title but it is a problem that is holding this title back from being the best it can be. IMO the most fun I have in 2k was in team up mode when you had 4 other people on your squad all trying to work together to beat 5 other users on the other side. On the rare occasions that I was able to connect and finish the whole game it was a great experience(give or take the no team play shot chuckers you could randomly get stuck with). 2k12 may be worse this year in this regard as far as server stability goes in this mode.

It's perplexing to me that games like COD or battlefield bc2 can have up to 24 players online in the same online game with rockets flying everywhere, vehicles, explosions, and collapsing buildings and suffer very little in performance and connectivity issues while 2k12 is riddled with them. They should really hire a consultant from Valve, Dice, or Infinity Ward to help them develop their servers. It's truly approaching pathetic.
# 13 JCEVO @ 10/13/11 03:55 PM
well ninja sports game are totally different beast than shooters. shooters are not that hard to make a streamlined online game. everything about shooters online is simple
# 14 skillz7854 @ 10/13/11 03:56 PM
Online is what sells NBA 2K
# 15 Pete1210 @ 10/13/11 03:59 PM
What is upsetting is the unfulfilled promises.

From the Online Association Insight:

Private Associations allow for a greater sense of league customization and, essentially, allow the commissioner to control just about anything that happens within the league.
Yet there is almost no control whatsoever. There was infinitely more control and customization in the old online leagues.
# 16 hallauer @ 10/13/11 04:06 PM
Great article! I completely agree that 2K's inability to maintain a solid online game is causing them to lose a lot of respect with the online sports gamers.
# 17 DubTrey1 @ 10/13/11 04:22 PM
Online is a major miss for 2K. They really need to address this longterm if they are ever to truly dominate the genre once EA gets back in the fight.
# 18 NINJAK2 @ 10/13/11 04:30 PM
Originally Posted by JCEVO
well ninja sports game are totally different beast than shooters. shooters are not that hard to make a streamlined online game. everything about shooters online is simple
I'm no dev JCEVO so I'll take your word for it but that is no excuse for 2k's servers to be as bad as they are....
# 19 tril @ 10/13/11 04:39 PM
I dont play sports games on line, but I would have to say its a major concern.
Maybe 2k should consider outsourcing their online services to a more experienced company., and if they already do this, maybe they should find a new provider.
Cost , is what is most likely holding 2k back from providing a stable onlineenvironment.
IMO, I dont think they have their business model for sports online gaming hashed out yet. I dont think they even sat down and thought out plans that included scalablity issues, etc.

I would hate for 2k to lose business becuase of this.
# 20 Gotmadskillzson @ 10/13/11 04:43 PM
Originally Posted by skillz7854
Online is what sells NBA 2K
Online is what sells videogames period this generation.

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