You thought we were done with this lockout nonsense when the NFL and its players came to terms about two weeks ago. Nope! The NBA and its players are in a similar dispute and, good news, it seems to be even more intractable. What does this mean for its premier licensed video game?
Arvind Bhatia, of the firm Sterne Agee, sent a note to investors yesterday saying that a lockout could punch a 1 million-copy hole in NBA 2K12's sales plans, knocking some $40 million off of Take-Two Interactive's revenue. Agee allowed that NBA 2K12's "uniqueness" may help it—the game will feature three different covers with all-time greats anchoring them, and a mode recreating 15 of the league's greatest games also will be included. But such timeless appeal still will be stung by any lack of enthusiasm for the real-world league if it doesn't get its act together, Bhatia concludes.
Pasta Padre notes that NBA 2K12 has been in the NPD's monthly top ten for nine months since its release, something very impressive for a sports video game. That's partly because of the heirloom quality of last year's NBA 2K11, which featured the return of Michael Jordan and a mode dedicated to his top performances. The inclusion of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving, and their greatest games, seeks to build on that success, and it isn't dependent upon league games taking place in the real world.
Many league watchers are convinced the NBA will lose at least some portion of its regular season schedule, and unlike the NFL, the mood concerning an NBA lockout doesn't treat it as a national emergency. Sports radio typically belittles the conflict and doesn't shed much regret for losing games out of a season that many fans don't find compelling until the playoffs.
2K Sports has, officially, tried to stay above and out of the lockout talk, but it's clear they've taken steps to weatherproof themselves against one. There is more to be revealed about the game, of course, due for an Oct. 4 release. But it is safe to say that labor unrest, which kills interest in casual fans or those returning to the game, can only harm NBA 2K12's performance at the cash register, no matter how good the game is.