Paying more for less; early copies of NBA 2K12

The Soapbox is a feature where NLSC community members can let their voices be heard on a range of topics related to basketball and basketball video games through feature articles here on the main site. Today’s guest contributor is fjccommish.

It’s the Commish up on the Soapbox. The subject is buying NBA 2K12 early through eBay and Craigslist. They say a sucker is born every minute, but the Commish isn’t one of them.

People are spending $100, $200 or more to get a copy of the game early. It’s bad enough they can’t wait until Tuesday, but some of them are spending that kind of cash for a game that won’t ship until the release date, if ever.

This was a good one that will deliver the game early. But $108.99 will feel silly on October 5th

Check the description, people. It seems many bidders aren’t paying attention to when the auction ends. If the auction ends October 2nd, and the seller writes that the auction won’t end early, why are people bidding $100 or more? They won’t receive the game before the release date. In fact, chances are they’ll receive the game after the release date. They’re spending more for less.

At first glance, some of the auctions look like early buys, but end on October 4th, or say “Pre-Order” in the description. Some sellers are honest, with a “Buy it Now” option at retail price, but others let the bidders think it’s an early release to drive up the price.

Check the buyer feedback, or know the seller’s history. A number of people purchased NBA 2K12 on Craigslist or eBay expecting their copy would ship on Tuesday, September 27th, but then the seller sold the game to a higher bidder. Reportedly, some sellers doing this are refunding the money, but others are not. That means gamers are wasting time, and risking money, on a dead end.

Rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Back in the day, the Commish received most sports games the moment they were in the hands of the publisher, a week or more before they were released. But it wasn’t that simple. It was the result of living on a bus for months, driving city to city operating official tournaments. Or it came from pulling double or triple duty at conventions, running over to the 2K booth to emcee a sports game competition in between exhibitions at a LucasArts booth. It wasn’t easy, but at least it was above board.

Also remember this: the games might be stolen, burned copies with duplicate labels. Employees at a store might sell the game early, then scan the sale into the register on the day of release. They’ll pocket the difference between the retail price and the price they received. Even if it’s a store owner selling the game early, they’re breaking the rules. When you play with rule breakers, be ready to be cheated.

However, there are legit early copies out there. Game reviewers and sites receive them and 2K distributes some during events. If it comes from 2K or a 2K-endorsed channel, it’s legit. If it doesn’t, then cross your fingers.

The Commish will wait until release day. There’s plenty keeping me busy until then, including preparing students for the October 1st SAT and lots of voice auditions. It’s OK to look for early copies. But even if the game arrives early, spending that extra $100 or $200 will feel pretty silly on October 5th. Remember that most rich people get rich by saving, not by spending.

A sucker is born every minute. If you must have the game early, don’t be that sucker.

Features posted on The Soapbox contain the views and thoughts of their respective guest author and may not reflect those of the NLSC or its staff. If you’d like to contribute an article for The Soapbox, please see this thread for more details.

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September 30, 2011 11:43 am

Thanks for the article, Commish. 🙂

I’m with you, as nice as it is to get early copies I think I’d experience some serious buyer’s remorse if I ended up paying twice the retail price (or more) just for the privilege. Aside from getting a copy through official channels, I’m content to wait.

September 30, 2011 11:59 am

“If you must have the game early, don’t be that sucker.”


September 30, 2011 12:37 pm

“The sucker” doesn’t refer to the people who receive early copies at $100-$200. It refers to the people who pay a lot but who don’t receive the game early, and/or who don’t receive it from the seller.

I don’t think anyone wants to be that sucker.

The X
The X
September 30, 2011 8:46 pm

Even that eBay one might not be that legit. Standard delivery is 3-7 business days from when payment is cleared. 7 days puts it a day after release date. I’d only be doing it if it was express post, next day delivery if I was that desperate.