Monday, March 5, 2012

How can 2K Restore Customer Confidence?

You've got to know when you mess up. Maybe you forgot your anniversary, someone special's birthday or to pay your rent on time. Either way you know there are going to be consequences, not to mention concessions that are required, lastly, you're going to need to make up for your mistake. Not being self-aware can have major negative implications. In April 2011 Sony's Network was hacked, resulting in the loss of tons of customer data and loss of almost a month of PSN Network time. While the failures of NBA 2K12 online play are not anything close to the gaffe that Sony made, after issues like the continued subpar level of the online component, MyPlayer issues and the recent freezing problems on PS3, customer confidence has been shaken quite a bit. Sony understood that the inconveniences that were caused and the view of their network as "poor and unsecure" required them to do something to credit customers for their patience during their network's downtime. Consequently they rewarded customers with two free games and a month of PS Plus for free. It was the right thing to do.

Fast forward to present day. While NBA 2K12 is a great title, that clearly suffered from the pressure of having to compete with itself, there were still a number of technical issues that caused unnecessary consumer frustration. Addressing customer dissatisfaction by rewarding long-time users would certainly be a step in the right direction. Here are a few suggestions our blog team came up with:

1. 2K12 Trade-in Credit - Nothing says "we're putting our money where our mouth is" better than coin. Admit you've made a mistake and offer twice the trade-in credit for 2K12 than you normally do. This is the perfect incentive for those who may have felt like you didn't deserve their hard-earned money with your last effort.

2. Online Demo -As Da Czar mentioned in his recent radio show, no amount of dev blogs, advertisements, celebrity pitchmen or endorsements from Mother Teresa herself will cause any veteran of online play to believe any claims that online is fixed/resolved. PROVE IT. Rather than the standard featureless, standard, short demo, allow the sports gaming community to sample your improved online play in with a demo that allows them to play with their friends. Nothing would do a better job of showing the improved quality of your product.

3. More Disclosure - 2K is notorious for the lack of information on their product, and its not a strategy we can fault given the copycat tactics of many of their rivals, but this year perhaps they should take a different approach. More information in a year where the competition is sure to go full-bore this year in the media isn't a bad idea. Perhaps this is the year to start a Game Changers program similar to what Madden has, maybe Dev Blogs could start earlier. It might be time to also consider things like polls or other feedback-based methods to better incorporate the reasonable elements of the 2K Community.

4. Go Feature Heavy - Give them MORE than what they ask for, 2K. Wow them. If there's a better way to impress customers i've yet to hear of it. Giving your loyal fanbase a working and dependable online aspect should only be the beginning. A Classic Teams queue? Make it happen. The return of Crews? Why not? Online profiles that save playbooks, rotations, coach settings, records and even preferred camera angles? YES. Lobbies with difficulties that cater to rookie/intermediate/veteran players? Just Do it. You've cut out the extras and scaled back for long enough. Hit a homerun in NBA 2K13.

These are just a few suggestions that we came up with to repair the relationship with 2K and their community. Have other ideas or opinions? Be sure to leave them in the comments.


  1. we'd also like to see some kind of online information portal where game issues can be communicated directly to the consumer when they start the game (like a patch) we shudder to think about the people not connected through social media/forums clueless as to why their game freezes at the load screen.