2K Sports Facing Controversy Over Perfect Game Contest Cheating

Posted May 5th, 2012 at 11:15 am

MLB 2K12 is making a run at being tabbed as the biggest failure from the first third of the year and it’s list of issues doesn’t even include the latest embarrassment. It’s ironic – and maybe somewhat fitting for the troubled MLB 2K series – that once they finally got the structure of the $1 million Perfect Game Contest right by turning it into a competition they left open a huge loophole for players to exploit. Kotaku has all the details on how the contest has been seriously compromised. 

It turns out that some participants recognized they would be able to alter their opponent’s lineup while keeping the proper validation in effect. This is a huge deal because each potential Perfect Game had a “score” assigned to it based on difficulty of the match-up. While the rules didn’t explicitly state that changing an opponent’s lineup was prohibited it was certainly inferred – and 2K’s own comment on their Facebook page claimed that doing so was not allowed.

The difficulty and resulting scores did not dynamically change based on lineup changes and had they this wouldn’t have even been an issue. It may very well be that 2K wasn’t even aware that it was possible for people to take advantage of such an exploit. Even more simply the company should have locked out changes to lineups altogether. Regardless some people got a huge advantage by removing the opposition’s most potent hitters while most others played within the spirit of the rules.

There was a good deal of discussion on the MLB 2K Facebook page prior to the end of the competition about the issue – many players were aware of it and apparently attempting to take advantage – and with the exception of the one comment referenced in the article 2K Sports avoided addressing it. A representative would respond to something unrelated but not to inquires about the exploit in question. It’s even worse now that 2K apparently sees fit to try and brush the concerns under the rug with a brief and insulting comment when reached by Kotaku.

The rules do leave some space for interpretation however with references to cheating, unfair advantages, tampering, and even “hindering an opponent”. The question then is how does the company deal with the situation. If they have the ability to go through and review each game’s box score they could identify those who skirted the rules and eliminate them.

It sounds as though they hope to move on without actually dealing with the issue and it would not be surprising for litigation to arise out of the handling of the contest. It’s a bad situation all around and from their response 2K just seems more concerned about publicity and their coming TV show documenting the tournament than the legitimacy of the competition that fed into it.