One of the fears we’d had since the beginning of online console gaming is coming to pass for real this week as the servers are shut down for 2K Sports’ NBA 2K14.
2K sports had previously said that save games would not be affected and that careers would be playable offline, but that appears not to be the case at all. NBA 2K14 save files for career and MyGM modes require online check-in to use. As Polygon notes, this first manifested when launch-window server problems kept players out of their career saves.
According to a response to an email sent by Polygon to 2K sports support, online career saves are being “retired.”
Quick play and offline modes are still accessible, but if you want to play career mode, you’ll have to start over completely. The support reply is, sadly, pretty tone deaf:
This may come as an inconvenience to some of you and if so we truly do understand and can feel for how upsetting this may seem as there always is a special bond that occurs between a player and their MyCareer save but all good things must come to an end and rest assured your MyCareer or MyGM went out while on top!
It goes on to say that 2K Sports hopes you enjoyed your time with 2K14 and that you’ll continue the experience in 2K15.
The reality is that, yes, game servers do have to shut down someday, and it seems likely that player engagement in a yearly title drops significantly when the next year’s entry arrives. But it’s disappointing to see 2K Sports handling the shutdown so poorly. Users who lose valuable career data aren’t more likely to pick up your next game just because you shut the old one down. Offline support for current saves doesn’t seem like it would be too difficult to patch in, and this looks more like a push to get players to upgrade. The next step is to just go to their houses and break the disc the game comes on, and maybe just smash a few action figures for effect.
Instead of trying to force players to upgrade by taking away their stuff, companies like 2K should be looking for ways to transfer parts of the saves. Even if not everything can transfer, a lot of data could probably make the jump, and it would be an excuse to pick up a new disc.