But we're not here to complain or bash, we're here to try to give a rational explanation for why exactly NBA 2K12 seems to have 'failed' in many people's eyes (at least in terms of sales, which is the strongest indicator of approval or not we have). Here are what I feel the top three reasons for the game seeming to fail in the sales department at this point:
- The Lockout. Let's just get the easy and most obvious answer out of the way. The lockout killed NBA 2K12's sales above and beyond anything else. Most analysts predicted sales shortfalls of 50% or more, and while many in this blog space tried to argue the lack of NBA would make many want to buy the game, it just never works like that in the real world. But sales are on pace to be well below 50% of last year's totals if you believe some charts. So it just doesn't end with the lockout.
- Jordan Was Cool...Until He Wasn't. The buzz surrounding last year's release was just enormous. In every way, people were hyped because Michael Freaking Jordan was about to be in a video game again after a long hiatus. And not just any game, but one which promised to be the most realistic game of basketball in some time. Fast forward a year, and when it came out Jordan was on the cover, there was a collective groan. The marketing strategy for this game was to play it safe and hope the sales just came in on brand recognition it seems. Unfortunately for 2K Sports and Take Two, they have found out the hard way that the NBA 2K brand is just as expendable for gamers as Tomb Raider was (and Call of Duty will be).
- What Do You Have to Offer Me Again? Of course, the ever proverbial word of mouth is a big factor in getting a game over that hump from year to year. And the word of mouth simply wasn't that good. Games today, in the days of social media, are made or broken by how word carries. Hype can breed hype and disdain, disdain. NBA 2K12 had enormous expectations, impossible expectations of it. Gamers wanted a revolution but instead got an evolution and some cases, a careful step back by the developers. That was unacceptable. It's like whoever is going to follow Joe Pa at Penn State, they probably won't be a bad coach -- but they have no chance of living up to that legacy