I try and see both sides to this knowing there are many moving parts, and many parties involved. For instance, we can all agree that it’S not ideal to have to pay VC for a new haircut in NBA 2K, but at the same time games have remained at $60 for how many years now? It’s a bit of a miracle that gaming prices have stayed stagnant, and I think we actually have VC to thank for it on some level. For someone like me who spends the majority of their time in franchise modes, VC is actually beneficial because it keeps the cost of a game at $60 and oftentimes sees games dropping quickly to $30 much quicker to get more folks in to buy VC. The *downside* from a franchise mode perspective is that because the vast majority of these additional purchases come from the online H2H community, that’s where companies have been spending the *vast* majority of their development time. Thus, franchise modes suffer a bit as they are the metaphorical 7-10 year old car that’s paid off, but is starting to break down as well.
Personally, I’ve adpoted the mantra that *purchasing* VC is the equivalent of steroids in sports gaming. I don’t juice. However, I understand that folks have limited time and do not want to have to grind for weeks and weeks just to hope to be competitive. Therefore, I’m happy that “juicing” exists as it can help those folks. Having said that, I feel the best solution is to use the system the NHL series uses in EASHL with player builds where no one is 10x better than anyone else, yet each build has its unique advantages. It’s basically a huge game of rock, paper, scissors.
While I like the EASHL setup, it could take things a step further and allow us X amount of points for our particular build of choice that we can then use to fine tune it to our liking. The NBA 2K equivalent would be stopping the player creation/update process as soon as you finish selecting your wingspan, height, etc. The way those minute little changes take place is how a H2H player should be created, and we then let the gameplay tell us the rest of the story. When we start to think about how this will impact esports, its’ going to be imperative.
But, if we simplify it too much, what happens to VC and the suits who will absolutely not want to give it up?
In short, they are extremely, extremely frustrating. From the business side, VC has clearly been a home run for 2K. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have to now use VC for things like haircuts, for example. And to be fair, I can’t pretend that I would turn down money people were begging to give me.
That said, any excitement I had for MyTeam and MyCareer, especially with the neighborhood, has been reduced big time. With 2K17, they were fun, but you couldn’t maximize your time without dropping some serious money. And this year seems like it will cost exponentially more.
For me, exhibition and franchise modes are worth the price of admission alone, so I’ll be fine. But I would like to one day be able to fully enjoy these modes without the need to keep my wallet open.
I’m going to start this off by saying I’m not completely against microtransactions. I feel like they’re part of the current gaming landscape, and they can help smaller studios and developers continue to create quality products and update their games. However, when it comes VC currency and the aggressive tactics 2K is taking this year with the ever-increasing costs of said VC, a line as being crossed. Expecting players to spend three to four times the face value of a video game on a microtransaction to continue to have fun and stay competitive within the multiplayer universe seems a little dirty. Now, if 2K was to go back and have a continuous going rate on the VC that seemed more fair to all involved and wasn’t a clear money-gouging scheme then a lot more people would be less hesitant to purchase. And it’s not just 2K. Activision has done the same thing with their franchises. It’s something that needs to be evaluated by all parties involved. However, being consumers we’re going to be stuck with the short end of the stick. No one is really going to listen unless we stop buying, which I have a tough time believing we’re collectively going to do.
I agree that the age of microtransactions is here to stay and I’ve spent more than a fair share of money in NBA 2K games in the past. I think we might be getting to the point where 2K is biting the hand that feeds them. 250K VC this year will cost a cool 80 bucks in the Legend Gold Edition (you do get other things, but it’s there for the VC). Taking into account how intimately tied into the new Run the Neighborhood career VC actually is, 2K seems to have finally jumped the shark with their in-game currency system. Unfortunately, being the best basketball game out there, people will pay to boost their MyPlayer in an effort to keep up.
Microtransactions are a large part of how video games operate now — that’s the way of the industry. Allow players to play the game as they like and grind if they have the patience. But if you REALLY want to be able to keep up, you’ve got to pay.
That being said, NBA 2K year over year has been increasing its reliance of using VC for various things, especially in MyCareer. In 2K17, I felt like it was necessary to have a good amount of VC to make a build that could keep up in the Park and Pro-Am. Yes, there was still some grinding involved, but buying out the majority of your stats from the jump put you in a place where you could keep up with the better players. This year’s iteration and the introduction of the Neighborhood and what seems like a case of having to pay for EVERYTHING with VC really shines a spotlight on microtransactions in the 2K series and what I believe is the brand now starting to get their Scrooge McDuck on.
Haircuts, facial hair, gear, player upgrades and more, all funded by VC. Funded eventually by your wallet. $149.99 for the fully loaded version of the game is really netting you 250K VC and 2K18; yes you get Shaq jerseys, MyTeam packs and all that jazz, but you’re paying for 2K18 and for VC. I really believe we’re starting to see more and more, hour by hour, that VC will be THE biggest problem with NBA 2K18 this year.
Be sure to let us know what you think as well! Do you think NBA 2K18 has crossed a line of acceptability in terms of virtual currency in this year’s game? Sound off in the comments below!
UPDATE: (9-19) 2K has lowered some of their VC pricing.
Haircuts, coloring and facial hair are now 100 VC. Want to make sure it’s realistic going forward! #NBA2K18
— Ronnie 2K 2K18 (@Ronnie2K) September 19, 2017