The effect of the lockout was expected to have significant impact on NBA 2K12 and that has definitely materialized – sales numbers were well down in the first month of release and now that has been followed by November which saw the game fall out of the top 10. Many will remember the stunning run that NBA 2K11 had by staying in the top 10 for 9 consecutive months.
While Xbox 360 and PS3 activity levels were well down demonstrating just how quickly it had fallen off - 2K11 was in the top 10 of games being played for a full 11 months and 2K12 could only hang there for 2 weeks – it still is somewhat surprising to see NBA 2K12 absent from the charts completely after just a single month on the market.
There is no doubt that now with the coming season there will be a significant bump in relevance for NBA 2K12 but it will not be near enough to recover what has been lost in the past two months. The lockout had a huge effect on perception of the league and the game that represents it – and without rookies, roster movement, and league events the excitement typically generated for a traditional release was clearly absent.
2K12 was unlikely to meet the sales levels of 2K11 regardless of the lockout – it had an astonishing rise culturally due to the addition of Michael Jordan and by 2K12 the novelty of legends and historic teams had already started to wear off to an extent. Beyond that though has been weak word of mouth as the game has struggled mightily with online performance, popular modes were stripped out in deceptive fashion, some major bugs plagued modes including My Player, and deficiencies in gameplay (such as the passing) have been griped about more.
All of that simply became difficult to overlook when the current-day rosters were essentially the same as those already found in 2K11. Introducing for the first time downloadable content (which hasn’t sold well) under the circumstances only increased levels of discontent.
Those who stuck with 2K12 will now be rewarded with the quasi re-release. Rosters being refreshed (which began this week) is absolutely huge – and then there is the matter of the comprehensive patch which has just arrived. It’s a good time to get started with 2K12 and it becomes a much more appealing holiday gift option particularly with a number the number of deals being offered. Amazon has it back to $40 (360 – PS3) for the time being.
Meanwhile Madden NFL 12 got the typical holiday bump for the series and ended up in 6th place selling well over 700K copies for the month. Madden NFL 11 pulled in approximately 600K last Novemember. Word of mouth on Madden 12 has been much stronger than Madden 11 – coinciding with a dramatic NFL season – and the corresponding sales have held better in part due to those factors.