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NBA 2K14 servers are back online following anger over career-killing shutdown

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2K Sports is extending online support for NBA 2K14, following a storm of outrage over its decision to close the game's servers after 16 months — a decision that also closed down career-mode gamesaves on the game's PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, even if they were played offline.

A 2K Sports representative told Polygon of the extension this evening. The full statement is below.

2K has restored the NBA 2K14 servers and all online services. Beginning today, we are extending the support of all NBA 2K servers from 18 to 27 months following each release, giving our players more time to experience and enjoy the highest rated NBA simulation video game franchise. The opinions of our community continue to have a positive impact on our business decisions as we strive to create the best possible experience for all of our fans.

Server support for NBA 2K14 had originally shut down March 31. Because of the way NBA 2K14's career modes and virtual economy were structured in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One editions, both required a check-in with 2K Sports' servers, even though all of the games both modes played were single-player offline experiences.

It is possible to create an offline save file in NBA 2K14 on PS4 and Xbox One, but it is wholly separate from any online file created. Thus, after the March 31 shutdown, players were faced with starting over offline after sinking dozens of hours into their careers.

On March 3, a 2K Sports representative assured Polygon readers that online save files would be automatically converted for offline use after the shutdown; this did not happen. Users locked out of their save files complained to 2K Sports, and received a form response from 2K Support saying their players and general managers had been "retired" along with online support.

Following the shutdown and the realization that career saves were lost, outrage on Twitter and in forums was swift, severe and unified against 2K Sports.

NBA 2K14 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which launched with the consoles' debuts in 2013, was troubled by persistent online disruptions for several weeks after its release. NBA 2K15 loosened some of the virtual currency requirements to make changes and decisions in the MyGM mode, but still operates under the same check-in structure, raising questions over whether it will face the same issues whenever online support for it ends.

The March 31 shutdown date would have meant NBA 2K14 on PS4 and Xbox One had online services for 16 months, among the shortest tenures of online support for an annual sports franchise. By contrast, online features for EA Sports' Madden NFL 12 and FIFA 12, both released four years ago, remain active.

For now, online service to NBA 2K14 is confirmed; an Operation Sports user posted this image this evening:

operation sports nba 2k14 online