NBA 2K9 Still Having Serious Online Issues

Posted October 9th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

With the NBA 2K franchise as the flagship of 2K Sports it has always seemed to offer the best overall experience with the most resources behind it. That has carried over to online play where it has generally been stable while offering great online leagues. Right now however the game is experiencing some major online related issues.

The first and most prevalent is the lag that is crippling games for many users. That is if the 2K Server is even up and running to attempt to start a game. This has especially been the case with Team-Up mode where having multiple users involved has resulted in laggy play and disconnects. There have also been reports of the game freezing while making player match challenges.

2K made the decision to remove lobbies this year. They did so in Prizefighter and NHL 2K9 and that continues with NBA 2K9. The reasoning behind it seems to have to do with their Team 2K challenge. Now the only way to play ranked games is against random opponents through  This has caused an uproar within the community. Essentially they are punishing everyone in order to prevent a few people from choosing easier opponents rather than fixing the online ranking system. It is seemingly far too difficult, if it is even possible, to play a friend.

The 5 on 5 Team-Up mode has been practically impossible to play with any success since release day. I still haven’t been able to get involved in a game that wasn’t a complete waste of time. The one I just tried had the worst lag I have ever seen. I couldn’t even quit out of the damn thing because you aren’t allowed to pause. Eventually it disconnected after about 10 minutes passed yet the game clock had run down only 16 seconds! For anyone wondering why I haven’t done a write-up on the mode…this is why. As detailed previously when looking at the mode in NHL they made the decision that ranked Team-Up games would not allow the user to choose who they play with, the team they are on, or the player they control. All of that is random and they seem to have a handful of standard matchups that you’ll get over and over. I do really like shooting around in the gym beforehand though. Again it is far too difficult in order to start a Team-Up game with friends.

Interestingly one of the strengths of the series, the online leagues, has also received an unpopular change. Flex scheduling has been removed. As someone who used to run leagues I know how important flex scheduling can be. The more games available to be played the better as that open nature leads to more activity and a higher chance of the league being successful. As it is right now only a handful of games are open at a time and must be completed to move forward.

Users are now reporting abnormal rosters being used in online games. Players on teams that they shouldn’t be. Rosters full of players from other teams. This one is bizarre especially considering the discussion in the conference call late last week. It was stated that the added player animations that come with the Living Rosters would not transfer into online play because they couldn’t validate that everyone had the same rosters. That had always been done automatically, everyone online would use the latest roster update. So something is up here and it may be more than a coincidence.

There also seems to be a calling to raise the difficulty level as the consensus seems to be that it is way too easy to score.

It is frustrating that so many sports titles seem to release with terrible online performance on release day and soon after. The biggest concern in the case of NBA 2K9 may be how recent 2K titles have struggled with online well beyond that time period. MLB 2K8 was arguably the worst online experience in sports gaming history and never was fixed.