NBA 2K12 Beginning to Lose Momentum Due to Realization of Old Rosters and No Rookies

Posted September 14th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Talks yesterday between NBA owners and players ended with both sides expressing disappointment and a bleak outlook for the future with no further meetings planned. Union chief Billy Hunter set expectations for the players telling them not to expect a deal until half the season has been lost. At the very least NBA 2K12 is now facing a couple months of being on the market with last year’s rosters and no infusion of this year’s rookies. 

When the news first broke that rookies wouldn’t be included in NBA 2K12 there was a significant number of people who took the time to let it be known they had little motivation then to buy the game. Posing a quick poll on Twitter and Facebook 69% of respondents stated that it would affect their purchase decision. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of them are going to pass, but it does show how big of a deal it is to many. That just reinforced my long-held belief that new rosters drive sales more than any specific features each year.

Analysts have guessed that 2K12 could drop off in sales by 50% if the lockout is prolonged – though I believe that number to be a bit exaggerated. As I wrote a while back the NBA 2K series is prepared to survive the lockout due to the rise in social significance and the pushing of “legends” and historic teams but certainly its sales potential will be damaged. Coming off such an incredible run with 2K11 a drop-off of 25-40% would still make for a nice haul for 2K Sports as it would provide numbers above what 2K10 pulled in.

One aspect of NBA 2K12 that has yet to be discussed despite there being under three weeks until release is online play. The weakest part of the series unfortunately – and with last year’s rosters there will be considerably less excitement to play online. That makes it especially important that the historic teams are available to use online after being left out last year. If they aren’t then that could add on to some of the frustration and uncertainty for those contemplating passing on the game come release.

Even for those who plan to overlook the state of the rosters and purchase the game the lockout heavily affects perception of NBA 2K12 as a “must-buy”. The longer the lockout goes on the more damage will be done to the series – which not only opened to big numbers with 2K11 but had an unprecedented nine month run on the sales charts. NBA 2K12 has positioned itself well to survive the lockout but it won’t be able to thrive as it did last year under the circumstances.