NBA 2K20’s broken launch

Kartik Mukalla, Staff Writer

NBA 2K20 has steadily developed from a small sports game for a niche audience to one of the biggest games on the market today, essentially printing out money for its publisher, 2K games. However, the increased profits from the series have resulted in predatory business practices by 2K. Introducing real-life money into its virtual economy, stagnating player progress, and making players buy equipment and upgrades with virtual currency for exorbitant prices have resulted in fans essentially being forced to pay money just to enjoy the game. In addition to this, 2K20 introduced an entire virtual casino, complete with spinning wheels and lotteries. This practice drew criticism from people, due to the fact that in essence, it promoted gambling and playing luck-based games with real currency to underaged children.

The general dissatisfaction with 2K as a product doesn’t end at their money-grabbing game mechanics. The release of the game itself entailed a variety of bugs and glitches. Players reported missing rewards from playing games, inconsistent servers, and general issues with the code. 2K has become well-known for minor issues like those, so the complaints weren’t big news. The source of major controversy, however, was the number of major glitches within that broke the game.

First, players reported being unable to access Play Now Online, one of the staple game modes that has been a part of the 2K series after online play was introduced. In Play Now Online, users pick a team and go head-to-head with other users, with matchmaking being determined by both the skill levels of the respective users and the quality of the teams they have picked. However, with NBA 2K20’s launch, players have been reporting their games and even their consoles crashing whenever they try to launch it, rendering one of the most popular and longstanding and modes in 2K unplayable.

Additionally, server issues in MyTeam have taken rewards and game results away from players. MyTeam, a game mode centered around acquiring a roster of superstar players and using them to win games against historical teams and squads built by other users. Players are acquired through completing grueling challenges, meeting certain requirements, or just by purchase through real-life and virtual currency. These server issues often happen right as a user completes an in-game challenge or as they purchase a player card, resulting in hours of game time or currency being wasted on nothing.

MyCareer, 2K’s most popular game mode, has been attacked the most by the player base, and for good reason. In this mode, players create their own NBA player and play as them while they rise through the ranks of the league, eventually reaching superstardom. While the aforementioned predatory financial practices have been rightfully criticized for years now, 2K released a fundamentally broken game this time around. Server issues that rob players of the currency required to upgrade their characters have been plentiful. The game’s artificial intelligence routinely double-teams the player character, even if they score only 6 points, resulting in them not being able to score the points necessary to upgrade their players. Additionally, some players have had their progress bar frozen, resulting in them not being able to upgrade their players no matter how many games they play.

2K hasn’t paid a lot of attention to all these critical issues, but they have been addressing gameplay concerns and cracking down on players who exploit glitches to illegitimately gain currency. As long as they keep adding revenue to their brand at this rate, that is all they will have to focus on.