Microtransactions and paid-for currencies in big AAA games are always the subject of heated discussions in the games community, but 2K Games seemingly views them simply as a reality of today’s business.
NBA 2K19, like its most recent predecessors, will include a paid-for currency in-game called VC (virtual currency). VC is also rewarded by completing in-game tasks, but the most common complaint about last year’s version was how much of a grind the process to acquire VC seemingly was.
Speaking to Trusted Reviews, 2K Games said it’s working on addressing this feedback in a couple of ways with NBA 2K19, but reiterated that VC and microtransactions in general aren’t going anywhere.
“Every game, at some point, in some way has currency and they’re trying to get additional revenue from each player that plays the game,” explained senior producer Rob Jones.
“You know, the question has to be when does it feel like it’s a straight money grab versus when does it feel like it’s value added, right?
“We know nowadays that most people don’t have the patience to work their way to the top. They just wanna be there right away. So, you know, we look at it as, ‘oh it’s an opportunity for us to allow you to skip the grind’, but then if the grind is too long, like some people felt last year, they’re gonna sit there and they’re gonna go ‘well, you knew the grind was too long to begin with.'”
The solution, according to Jones, is to reward players enough by playing the game that they don’t feel the need to buy these shortcuts if they don’t want to, which is what 2K says it’s focusing on with NBA 2K19.
“So we’re hoping that by rewarding you more that, A: you won’t need to go in and get as many things [VC] and B: you won’t feel like you know, ‘oh this is how they’re getting me.’ You can now participate in other things to get what you want,” Jones added.
“I think the biggest problem last year was not knowing where you were going. A lot of the times you wasted VC that you had earned on things that weren’t necessary.”
Recently, 2K Games made changes to NBA 2K18’s MyTeam mode, locking certain features for players in Belgium, and the Netherlands in order to comply with local gambling laws. The publisher, however, is asking that players speak to their local government officials to explain how MyTeam and its surrounding systems do not constitute gambling.
NBA 2K19 is out September 11 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch.