Sports fans eagerly await the arrival of NBA 2K every year and the release of 2K20 was no different. Millions of basketball fans everywhere dropped between $60 and $100 on pre-orders of the game, spent an extra $50 on in-game currency so that their player would be playable, downloaded it ahead of time so that they could play it as soon as it was released and opened up the long-awaited game to find ... error codes and lies?
On Sept. 5th, the night of the release, millions of people couldn’t connect to the servers to play the game and #fix2K20 was immediately trending on Twitter with over 100,000 tweets. In the week following the release, issues kept arising with loading screens taking unreasonable amounts of time, players being unable to progress in the game due to bugs and people being errored out of online games completely.
The 2K community has become used to terrible servers and errors on release every year, and no one was particularly surprised when the game was released with bugs. While many were frustrated, they knew that patches would be released in a week or two that would fix the major errors in the game.
What people were really angry about was the complete lack of communication between the 2K staff and the community after the game was released. This included lies about the game before it was released in order to encourage people to pre-order.
Ronnie Singh, better known as Ronnie2K, is the digital marketing director for NBA 2K. He’s also the unofficial community manager for 2K and the main liaison between the community and the developers. Singh is the main source of information and updates from inside 2K for players.
Before the game released, Ronnie2K said that the area where most online games are played — called the park — was different than it was last year, players would be able to modify their in-game players without spending $50 to make a new one and that there would be more character types in the game. These were all huge selling points to the game for most players that encouraged many to pre-order, but unfortunately, they turned out to be lies.
After the game was released with countless bugs, Ronnie2K continued to tweet out promotions for the game as if nothing was wrong and ignored the hundreds of thousands of tweets asking why the game had so many issues and why the features he said would be in there weren’t. Other developers followed his lead and the 2K community was left in the dark.
After players felt they weren’t being heard, they started the hashtag #fireronnie2K. On Sept. 12, Ronnie2K tweeted out a promo with Karl-Anthony Towns, an NBA player and the star of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns, a huge fan of the game, responded by saying, “I’m surprised you still have a job. #FireRonnie2K.”
Three weeks later, his Twitter comment sections are still filled with links to a website allowing you to report false advertising of a product, the hashtag #fireronnie2K, people asking him where the features he promised are and calling him a liar, and of course, good old-fashioned memes.
Ronnie2K still hasn’t publicly responded to complaints and while some of the developers have addressed the situation and apologized, most have stayed silent.
While the 2K community may never get the apology they desire for being a loyal fan base, after all of the drama that has happened this year, maybe next year will finally be the year 2K listens to their input.