2K Sports struggling with MLB 2K8 community relations

Posted April 4th, 2008 at 6:06 pm


I’ve held off writing about the current patch situation for MLB 2K8 throughout the week. My general feeling was that just waiting on the patch isn’t really news. But developments over the past few days warrant some discussion.

March 13th was the day the news came out (via Game Informer) that a patch was in the works to address the poor framerate and Padres franchise roster glitch for the 360 along with a PS3 patch that would only fix Padres issue. Amusingly 11 days later 2K Sports sent out their official press release which was the exact statement that had been made prior. In both cases it was mentioned that the patch was already under technical review and was to be released shortly. So here we are three weeks later and that has yet to happen.

Earlier this week overly eager 2K Sports representatives on their official forum posted information that the patch was going to be released on Monday night. That didn’t happen. Then one actually posted that the patch had gone live with instructions on how to get it on Tuesday morning. It hadn’t. Then it was that the patch release was simply “imminent”. Three days since that period apparently started and still nothing. But things have really been elevated now as they have started blaming Microsoft for a delay. Doing that publicly to a company who they have a business relationship with is irresponsible and inappropriate.

Ironically today the Opening Day Weekend online event on the 360 began. Certainly they had hoped to have the patch out beforehand considering the game is practically unplayable online. There is no guarantee anyway that the patch will even improve online performance. It is just about as bad as you can get for a sports title since you have to start swinging before the pitch is even released. That basically negates any reason to even play to begin with. They still haven’t even fixed how the game freezes your console when you accept challenges in lobby rooms. This apparently was not lost upon the developers scheduled to play as it was 45 minutes into the two hour period before all of them were actually online.

Regardless of whether or not the patch has cleared certification on either on the 360, PS3, or both the real issue is with the terrible job of communication in regards to the patch status and the mistreatment of consumers in their official forums. Condescending remarks are being made towards posters, demands and ban threats are being made frequently, threads are being locked or deleted at an alarming rate. These consumers just want answers and are anxious for the patch to arrive. Treating them in this manner is not a good PR move and unfair considering the position they have been placed in. You don’t promise a date and time for something (even go so far as announcing it was actually out) when you can’t be certain of it. Did they not just go through this with the demos? If you do you have to be prepared to deal with the situation and not berate those who are left wondering what is going on.

In the end it all falls on 2K regardless of how things are playing out now and why the patch still hasn’t gone live. The game was released with severe issues which has kept it from functioning as advertised. The responsibility has been with them for releasing it in that condition and still lies with them as they attempt to improve the game to a level of respectability via patch. The current failings in communication and interaction with consumers isn’t doing them any favors either and I suspect Microsoft is not very pleased with this situation as well.