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Wicks, Hishinuma,
Blake, Pleasant

MM 202
Executive Summary
The following research was
conducted by Kendra Wicks,
Javion C. Blake, Anthony J.
Pleasant, and Narumi
Hishinuma to analyze NBA
2K18. Our goal was to better
understand the NBA 2K18
game. Through our research, we
gained knowledge about the
parent company, Take-Two
Interactive, and history of 2K
Table of Contents
Industry Overview...................... 4
Company Overview.................... 5
Product Overview....................... 6
Product Features and Benefits... 8
Direct Competitors..................... 9
Indirect Competitors.................. 10
Product Advertising.................... 11
The Future of NBA 2K18............ 15
References..................................... 16
Image References......................... 17
Industry Overview
NBA 2K18 is a basketball simulation video game developed by Visual Con-
cepts and published by 2K Sports.

Sales and Revenue in Past Years

NBA 2K18 topped the sales charts in Australia and New Zealand. It reached
number 2 on the US downloads chart. The game also reached number 3 in
the UK sales charts. In Japan, it reached number 4. It made it to number 10
in the European download chart. The game became the best-selling sport
title of 2017. 2K’s parent company, Take-Two Interactive, announced that the
game sold 6 million copies just a month after release.

Pros Cons
•New and improved game- •Server problems
play each year •No cross platform (console)
•More copies sold in latest
•Online multiplayer can
reach multiple countries

NBA 2k17 has came out on top as publisher Take-Two Interactive’s

top-selling sports game ever, selling more than 8.5 million copies.
In an earnings report today for the first quarter of fiscal year 2018,
Take-Two noted that the basketball title NBA 2K17 was one of the largest
contributors alongside titles like Grand Theft Auto Online to net sales, which
grew 28 percent to $348.3 million. Players are also spending more money
than ever on the NBA 2K series, as consumer spending for the title grew 64
percent this past quarter.
Company Overview
Company History
2K Games is owned by the parent company Take-Two Interactive Software
Inc (“Corporate Profile…” 2015). According to its website, Take-Two Interac-
tive is a “developer, publisher and distributer of interactive games” (“Corporate
Profile…” 2015, p. 1). The company was founded in 1993 by Ryan Brant (“Take-
Two…” 2002). It was one of the first companies to put famous actors in video
games, a move that shot it into the spotlight. Take-Two hired Dennis Hopper to
star in “Hell: A Cyberpunk Thriller” which was released in December of 1994
(“Take-Two…” 2002).
Shortly after, Take-Two Interactive made its first big licensing deal with Sony
(“Take-Two…” 2002). It developed games for the first PlayStation console. The
company went public for trading in 1997. Kelly Sumner replaced Ryan Bryant as
the CEO in 2001 (“Take-Two…” 2002).
Today, Take-Two Interactive creates game for consoles, computers and
mobile devices (“Corporate Profile…” 2015). It distributes its products through
online downloads, retail stores and cloud streaming. The headquarters are in
New York City and its products are distributed across almost every continent
(“Take-Two…” 2017). Take-Two Interactive produces its games in partnership
with external and internal companies (“Corporate Profile…” 2015). It owns 2K
Games, Rockstar Games and Social Point.
Product Overview
NBA 2K18 is a basketball simulation video game developed by Visual
Concepts and published by 2K Sports (“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018). The
game is Rated G and has been a platform for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo
Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One (“CraveOnline
Media” 2018). NBA 2K18 is made to realistically imitate the National Basket-
ball Association. There are several game features presented.
The first game feature is local play, where you are able to connect to
4 devices locally and either play against or with friends or family (“Take-
Two…NBA 2K” 2018).
The second game feature is called Create a Player, where you are able to
create the player you want. The features within Create a Player are being able
to choose your hairstyle, body type, height, weight, and other personal traits
(“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018).
The third feature is called Run the Neighborhood, where you are able
to use your created player and put you in the same position as the real world.
You’ll be able to build up your career in National Basketball Association
games and go through the process of a young prospect trying to reach your
full potential (“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018).
The fourth feature is MYGM/MYLEAGUE. MyGM introduces a story-based
franchise experience that gives you the ability to choose your path through a
general manager’s perspective. MyLEAGUE is a feature where you are able to
choose your team and go through however may seasons and games possible
(“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018).
The cover of NBA 2K18 is Kyrie Irving, a basketball player in the Na-
tional Basketball Association (“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018).
NBA 2K18 is available at all stores that sell video games, and pricing
ranges from $38-$60 (“GameStop” 2017).
Product Overview Cont.
NBA 2K18 is the newest edition of the series video game. Its first game
was released in 1999 and is called NBA 2K. It was created by Visual Concepts
and was made when EA sports wouldn’t publish its content under SEGA
Dreamcast. Since then, the series has become a multi-platform under 2K
sports. It has been well known for the realism it holds with the players and
arenas (“Take-Two…NBA 2K” 2018).

There are 21 games in the series, which are:

• NBA 2K • NBA 2K9

• NBA 2K1 • NBA 2K10
• NBA 2K2 • NBA 2K11
• NBA 2K3 • NBA 2K12
• NBA 2K4 • NBA 2K13
• NBA 2K5 • NBA 2K14
• NBA 2K6 • NBA 2K15
• NBA 2K7 • NBA 2K16
• NBA 2K8 • NBA 2K17
• NBA 2K8 • NBA 2K18

(“CBS Interactive” 2017)

NBA 2K18 has been specifically marketed to basketball fans, and people
that love the game of basketball. Besides its advertisements, there hasn’t been
a certain slogan or motto NBA 2K lives by. Its biggest advertisement pro-
moted the Run the Neighborhood feature, where the advertisement received
nearly 5 million views in its first two weeks (“AList” 2018).
Product Features
and Benefits
Direct Competitors
Consist of top grossing games such as Fortnite, a combat multiplayer
that is trending worldwide at the moment, Call of Duty, a war-based multi-
player game that gives you a look inside the combat of war and army battle,
and Far Cry 5, which is an action-adventure first-person shooter game that
brings the open free roam gameplay.
Other competitor sports games consist of Fifa 18 is a competitor
sports (soccer) video game developed by EA Sports, UFC 3 a mixed mar-
tial arts fighting sports video game, and Madden 18 is an american football
sports video game in comparison to the National Football League.
The competitor product attempts to make more sales and gain more
users than NBA 2k which is one of the top sports games the 2K company
produces. Game competitors attempt attract more users to by and play
their games over NBA 2k. The more people that play their games the more
money they will make because they will have to keep producing games each
and every year.
Indirect Competitors
Anything outside of video games that could take customers away from
playing and purchasing NBA 2k. Movies, Netflix, Hulu, Social Events, not hav-
ing access to a console or television. Anything to take users away from NBA
2k could be in competition to outsale 2k. When people get bored with play-
ing NBA 2k they will want to do other things. That’s when platforms such as
Netflix, Hulu, and Youtube come in.
Product Advertising
In 2017, Take-Two Interactive reported spending $173.947 million on
advertising (2018). It spent $137.915 million on research and development.
This information could be used to develop games and advertisements.
During this analysis, five internet commercials were studied. Each of
these ads were found on 2K18’s YouTube channel. They were most likely
shared through social media to spark the interest of the people who like
basketball games. However, this means that the ads had a higher chance of
reaching people who are already customers of 2K Games instead of poten-
tial consumers. Each advertisement was released in the fall of 2017.
A common design element between each commercial is the use of
color. The game is based in “the neighborhood,” which is depicted as a low-
er to middle class neighborhood with a 1990 feel. The buildings are made of
brick or stone and appear old and dark. However, the graffiti, signs, stores
and clothing of the people are bright and add pops of color. Two of the ads
begin with black and white screens and ad color during the neighborhood
scenes (“The Prelude Trailer,” 0:32). Most of the outfits in the ads have one
bright color among many darker tones (“Handshakes,” 0:12). This design
element makes the commercials visually appealing and symbolizes the bright
potential of the player embarking on his or her journey through the neigh-
Product Advertising
The ads all use quick, short jump cuts to put together scenes. This cre-
ates an exciting, fast-paced atmosphere that makes the game seem energetic
and fun. The text used in all five commercials is very similar. They all dis-
played the words, “NBA 2K18” and “Legend Edition” in the same font. Bold,
blocky white and red letters are used to make that information stand out.
Two of the ads analyzed include live actors while the other three only
show animations from the game. During the “Handshakes” commercial, a
young man walks through the streets of his neighborhood and completes
unique handshakes with nine different men. These men are NBA players, in-
cluding Kyrie Irving, Devin Booker, Karl Anthony-Towns, Demar Derozan,
DeAngelo Russel, Paul George, Joel Embiid, Isiah Thomas and Damian Lil-
lard. He also nods to Bill Walton, a retired basketball player (“Handshakes,”
0:51). In the “Shaq Legend Edition Announcement,” two famous players are
seen, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. The use of these famous players
helps tie the game to basketball, draw in fans and give the audience a sense
that they can feel just like the professionals when they play the game (“Hand-
shakes,” 2017, “Shaq Legend…” 2017).
The other three ads used computer animations of characters in the
game. “Momentous” used graphics of characters that resembled famous play-
ers while “Run the Neighborhood” primarily followed a “create-your-own”
character through his journey (“Run the Neighborhood,” 2017). The majority
of these commercials focused on animated characters that resembled average
teenage boys. They do ordinary things, such as going to a public gym to train
(“Run the Neighborhood,” 1:24) or practicing on public courts (“Run the
Neighborhood,” 0:57).
Product Advertising
All of these actors and characters are wearing casual street clothes. They
consistently use dark outfits with bright pops of color. The majority of the
characters are black but there are some white players shown in a few of the
commercials. Other ethnicities don’t make an obvious appearance. The play-
ers display confidence and determination through their practice, lifestyle and
interactions with fellow athletes. In “Momentous,” the animated players con-
gratulate each other after points, give each other aggressive looks and look
threatening (“Momentous,” 0:30).
The messages of these ads are all similar. They encourage people to play
the game by showing them that they can create their own journey, become a
stand-out player and reach the professional level. Three of the ads emphasize
the player’s ability to build his or her own life by showing images from the
video game and explaining how it works (“Run the Neighborhood,” 0:25).
The commercials also express the idea that all athletes start from the bottom
and work their way up using professional players in neighborhood settings
(“Handshakes,” 0:25). The game centers around building a personal connec-
tion with professional players by embarking on a journey similar to theirs.
Everyone starts from the bottom, and you can, too (“Run the Neighborhood,”
Product Advertising
These commercials are designed to target young, black males. There are
some white players shown in the ads, but the majority are black or have dark-
er skin tones. The professional players were all black and there was only one
female shown for two seconds during one commercial (“Handshakes,” 0:44).
Every other actor and character in the game is male. Teenagers and young
adults are the age groups targeted by these ads. The characters can be iden-
tified as teenagers by how they look and dress, as well as their surroundings.
The main actor in “Handshakes” appears to be around 17-18 years old and
emerges from a high school building in the first seconds of the ad (“Hand-
shakes, 0:05). The use of adult, professional players indicates that the game
could also be played by older men.
Socioeconomic status plays a big role in the target audience. Although
the game itself hints at the lower class, customers would need to be able to
afford the console and video game in order to play. There are also references
within the game to higher priced clothing. It includes Foot Locker and Nike
stores for the players to dress their characters in (“Run the Neighborhood,”
0:41). While the actors and characters in these ads are wearing street-style
clothing, it is from places such as Foot Locker and Nike, indicating a middle
or high-class status (“Run the Neighborhood,” 2017).
As with most video games, NBA 2K18 is targeted towards groups that
have a positive opinion of technology. Consumers would need to know how
to operate the consoles used to play this game if they were interested in buy-
ing it. This is the main reason for targeting young citizens who can afford the
luxury of video games.
The Future of NBA
North America is the biggest market for e-sports, with revenue expect-
ed to be $257 million in 2017, and the figure is expected to double to $670
million by 2020, and the NBA has targeted the big cake. The NBA is highly
focused on the 2017-18 NBA 2K league, and if the league is successful, the
NBA is expected to spend more than $1 billion before 2020, and the NBA is
expected to test water in the industry. If all goes well, there will be 30 teams
in the future NBA 2K league.
The message of these commercials is quite clear. However, they focus
on the life-style aspect of the game more than the basketball. Although that
is the point of this game and it’s something that separates it from others, in-
creasing the emphasize basketball play may catch the attention of more audi-
ence members. In the scenes from the video game, dialogue between charac-
ters would add to the story. The emphasize is on the lifestyle of the game and
the people you can meet. Instead of voiceovers in the ads, showing dialogue
between characters would increase the reality feeling that the game is striving
To address a larger audience, the company should consider using char-
acters of varying skin tones. There were no Hispanic or Asian people featured
in these ads. Although most professional basketball players have either black
or white skin, there are plenty of people from other ethnic background that
play basketball. The game is attempting to connect everyday players to the
professionals and everyday players are not only black. Adding more ethnic
characters would increase the audience that the game connections with and
improve the success of its mission.
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