[Update] NBA 2K14 Servers Live Again, 2K Amends Online Policies
Update: 2K Sports has reinstated the NBA 2K14 online servers, which should restore saves for affected players. Also as a result of this situation, the publisher has changed its policies regarding providing online services.
“2K has restored the NBA 2K14 servers and all online services," a representative told us via email. "Beginning today, we are extending the support of all NBA 2K servers from 18 to 27 months following each release, giving our players more time to experience and enjoy the highest rated NBA simulation video game franchise. The opinions of our community continue to have a positive impact on our business decisions as we strive to create the best possible experience for all of our fans.”
On March 31, 2K Sports terminated online services for its basketball title released in late 2013. NBA 2K14 had been out for only a bit over 14 months when the servers were taken offline, which has caused some unexpected consequences for those invested in the game (like our own Andrew Reiner was).
When the shutdown was announced, 2K issued a statement to Polygon indicating that career progress would be safe. It would just be transitioned from an online structure to an offline file, along with a move from the game's real-money "VC" currency to in-game earned skill points.
Today, reports emerged that the server outages resulted in the exact opposite for those players with existing data. Career mode saves have disappeared or, in 2K’s parlance, they have been “retired."
Polygon received documentation directly from 2K support indicating this is working as intended. The outlet published responses received from the company's customer support line that indicates this issue is both known and accepted.
Managing editor Matt Bertz called out the problematic nature of tying single-player career modes to the online infrastructure in his review of NBA 2K15. "If NBA 2K15 were firing on all cylinders, it would push FIFA as the best sports game on the market thanks to its best-in-class presentation, forward-looking franchise experience, and innovative MyCareer mode," he writes. "But the decision to tie several game modes – some of which are experienced entirely offline, like MyCareer – to unstable servers that continue to have intermittent outages overshadows the great strides the game makes in other areas."
We reached out to 2K for comment and have yet to receive a response. We'll update should we receive a response.
This event casts a dark shadow over games with integrated online components. It's bad enough we have to worry about entire platforms like OnLive going offline and taking with it related purchases, but to lose the other precious resource, time, disrespects consumers.
Gamers are right to voice discontent over these policies, as it leaves players with two choices: either start over from the beginning in older software or upgrade and risk the exact same thing happening in 12 months. Server shutdowns happen. They are a fact of contemporary gaming life. They just shouldn't happen so soon. And, if publishers feel the financial pressure of moving on, that warning shouldn't just be on the box, it should be in bold letters.