In 2014, 2K Sports promised that if their NBA2K Twitter account ever reached one million followers that players would receive a sweet bonus. Well, that day has finally arrived, and the bonus is…not sweet.
The original promise, dated May 30, 2014, was:
@NBA2K’s original tweet, dated May 30, 2014.
Well, the account ticked over one million this week, and 2K did indeed make a release. Only, it wasn’t a Diamond player (guys like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson), the rarest and best players you can get for your MyTeam side.
Instead, everyone got a locker code (essentially the in-game term for content you unlock with a code). Redeeming that locker code got you a random in-game item. Some people were lucky and got something decent! Most folks did not. Here, for example, is what I got:
A t-shirt. Great. Thanks.
So what gives? Well, turns out the deal was off. Back in December, NBA 2K’s community guru Ronnie 2K tweeted this at a fan who was asking about the offer:
@swagseph_ that was for 2K14
— Ronnie 2K 2K16 (@Ronnie2K) December 13, 2015
Being a reply at one guy, though, and not a blanket statement, it was easily missed by the community. And is still being missed! The NBA 2K account isn’t tied to one game, it’s for the entire series, so the original deal is still visible to anyone who is linked to it or is searching for it, listed under an account called NBA 2K 2K16.
Today, the air started coming out of the offer for everyone unaware of that December news with the wording of this tweet on the game’s official account:
Thank you fans for 1 MILLION followers. Random Item Locker Codes tomorrow with chance at Amethyst & Diamond players! pic.twitter.com/ChzMdhlIcG
— NBA 2K 2K16 (@NBA2K) March 22, 2016
There’d still be a reward for one million followers, just like everyone expected. Only it was no longer a Diamond player, just a random code with a chance at a Diamond player. So of course, some people got lucky! Ronnie 2K’s Twitter account for the day, for example, is full of people having opened their random item to find players like Steph Curry and James Harden.
Most folks, though, got random junk. And they’re pissed. Aside from venting displeasure on forums, a Twitter backlash has started up on #Unfollow2K, which has since driven the account’s follower count back under the one million mark.
Is 2K legally in the right here? Who knows. Probably. Maybe. That offer was indeed made in 2014 while the Twitter account was still called NBA 2K 2K14.
But whether it’s technically a backdown or not, in terms of looking after your community, this has been a disaster, because for most players that’s exactly how it’s been perceived: as a backdown. A Switcheroo. The original tweet said nothing about limiting the count to just that year’s game. It just said if that account got one million followers, people would get a Diamond player. And that account got one million followers earlier this week.
I’m sure there’s a good reason 2K decided on this course of action. Maybe giving everyone such a good player would screw up the balance of the game. Maybe it would mess with its economy. Maybe both. But surely that’s less damage than what they’re surveying today, with their most loyal fans — those still playing the game so many months after release — in such an uproar.