Kotaku: NBA 2K18 is Riddled with Microtransactions


The latest game in the NBA 2K series is frustrating to play if you don’t want to spend any additional money on top of the $60 you have to shell out to get the game.

Technically, you don’t ever need to buy anything in NBA 2K18. It’s just much, much easier if you do. Virtual Currency is the only currency in the game, and was introduced in the 2012 installment (NBA 2K13). It’s something you’ll use across game modes in 2K18, but it’s especially prevalent in the single-player myCareer mode, where you use it both for upgrading characters and customizing them.

In 2K18, like other installments, you’re able to earn Virtual Currency after every game, and you’ll start off with 6,000 VC. That seems generous until you actually start having to use your VC, where you’ll find that things are pretty expensive.]
When I spent the entirety of my 6,000 VC on my character, Xavier World Peace, he went from an overall rating of 60 to 62. You can still earn VC by playing games and it will scale with how well you play during the game, as it has in previous games in the series. But still, playing a game with my modest skill only netted me around 500 VC. Once I’d accrued another 1,000 VC, I tried to upgrade World Peace again. Fooling around with different stats, I realized that I’d be able to raise his overall rating one point if I spend about 4,000 VC.
If you’d like to customize your character in any way, Virtual Currency becomes even more precious. In particular, if you want to change your character’s hair, you have to purchase a haircut before you see it on the character itself.

You also won’t be able to see the price until you put it in the cart—this particular haircut costs 1,500 VC.

Not all haircuts are this expensive, but this is just a small part of character customization. What if you want a tattoo? Well, all tattoos other than the 2K logo are locked until you reach an overall rating of 70, and then actually adding the tattoo to your character costs an additional 1,000 VC.

This is the same for clothes, shoes and player animations—you have to raise your overall rating to unlock the good stuff, and then you still have to pay VC to actually purchase it. Want Michael Jordan’s signature dunk? Well, first you have to to unlock it, and then you can still have to pay for the animation.

That means you have to play hours of games to earn VC… or buy 75,000 of VC for $20. In general, playing myCareer mode is a constant reminder of how much VC you don’t have, as the game will frequently present you with the option to purchase more.

Fans of the NBA2K series aren’t wholly opposed to the idea of buying a currency, but the overall sentiment online appears to be that 2K18 feels more predatory than previous games in the series. One fan estimated that in order to get to an overall rating of 86 and not spend any money, you’d have to play over 200 games.

2K has not responded to requests for comment on NBA 2K18’s VC system.

Microtransactions like these are never popular with players, and for good reason. Who wants to spend another $20 when they’ve already spent $60 on the game itself? It’s disheartening to see a basketball series I’ve enjoyed in the past feel so sleazy in its latest installment. At least let me preview the hair, NBA 2K18. Not everyone looks good with dreads.
I was thinking about this the other night, how 2K doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves for it's most prominent game mode essentially being pay to win. Pretty disgusting honestly. I haven't purchased a 2K game in 2 years but it seems to be being built more and more for the purchase of VC to become necessary. This is the kind of shit you could expect from a free to play game.

Also there's a bug that's been erasing these characters. Imagine spending dozens of dollars on progress for your character and losing it.

Blow a 3-1 lead if old
I'm not really into sports games but what I saw of 2K17, a full priced game, was already disgusting. This industry can be awful sometimes.
Absolutely disgusting. No place for this in a 60 dollar release.

Was considering this for switch, but now I wouldn't touch it with a pole.
I've heard this as a criticism for a while. I can only hope that people start getting sick of this garbage and affect their bottom line and hopefully force them to change it.
I've heard this as a criticism for a while. I can only hope that people start getting sick of this garbage and affect their bottom line and hopefully force them to change it.
The frist step would be to have reviewers bring attention to it and dock the game for it. Asking video game journalists to do their job is a hard sell, though.
It's been this way for several years now. It was a very easy franchise for me to walk away from because VC is everywhere in it. Online and offline modes.

Based on the way the series sells, the vast majority of people are 100% okay with it.
Riddle me this.

Did a double take when I saw a premium version on the Switch store for like £130. Never seen a digital game that expensive before.
I like playing video game basketball and 2K has been running that for years...but I refuse to pay for VC and I don't really care for playing online so I'm almost forced to stick to modes that have less intrusive microtransactions.

I couldn't tell you if this year is worse or not, but the VC heavy modes in general have turned me off for years.
Based on the way the series sells, the vast majority of people are 100% okay with it.
It's frustrating because I love basketball to the point that I try to watch a game every night when the season starts and watch archived games. 2K is the only game in town for fans (for right now) and as a big fan, it sucks.
The crazy thing is a lot of people I know have no issues with currency... wanna know why? Cause all they play is cod and 2k year around. So all their income goes into that and I'm sure plenty of people are like that.

For the record not defending this type of business but 2k isn't even stressing this.. so they ain't gonna bother responding to Kotaku or anyone for that matter.
Fuck micro transactions in single player modes for games that sell for $60.

Not that devs are getting paid better, all this garbage is doing is paying for larger pools for those shiny executives.

Fuck it all.
I was very interested in playing a NBA 2k game for the first time but they lost me. Whats the point. I understand some micro transactions but this is game broken. If NBA is same like fifa then i know its useless to play with such low stats. And to either pay money or play hooooours for just 1 or 2 stat upgrades is ridiculous. So it means either pay or play a broken product. Well i will never play a nba 2k game i guess.