Last year, 2K Sports faced a fair bit of backlash over its egregious monetisation in NBA 2K18. Rightly so! While the game itself may have been fantastic, it was a microtransactional nightmare, charging players real-world money for things as simple as haircuts. It didn’t take long for 2K to change the pricing of its slow-to-earn Virtual Currency after the backlash.
According to Take-Two boss Strauss Zelnick, the company has listened to feedback, and this year’s NBA 2K game won’t be quite as predatory. While it seems that the game will still play host to microtransactions and extraneous monetisation, it should at least give players the feeling of getting what they’ve paid for.
“Unquestionably we pay attention to consumer response because we’re so focused on engaging and captivating and entertaining the consumer,” Zelnick told Gameinformer. “Any time we get feedback that is anything less than 1000 percent positive, we stop and say, what should we do differently? I think there’s a small sliver of the consumer base that basically wants everything for free, we can’t really help those people. I think most consumers just want a fair deal and we do think that part of a fair deal is, you know when you get the check at the end of the meal, it’s not enough that the food tasted good, it has to be a fair deal for what you got. So we’re very focused on it being more than a fair deal, we want to give consumers much more than they paid for.”
Small part that wants everything free? Excuse me? NBA 2K is a full-priced retail game. Of course, Zelnick is a master of corporate speak, and excellent at saying a lot of words that ultimately mean very little. While he has said that it’ll be better in this year’s game, he’s not said how, or outlined any plans to fix the microtransaction and “pay to win” systems in NBA 2K. He has however admitted that the company as a whole needs to balance its monetisation better, and that their focus should be on entertainment, not monetisation.
“We do learn every time and we have to balance monetization with the experience,” Zelnick said. “In our case, we sort of all regrouped and said, wait, let’s remind ourselves that we’re in the business of creating the best entertainment on Earth, across all types of entertainment. We’re focused on engaging and captivating consumers. If we do that right and that’s our entire focus, the revenues and the profits will probably take care of themselves, so let’s not overemphasize those. So I’m asking questions now like does big data and having lots of data scientists on your team allow you to enhance your monetization? And the answer is, technically I suppose that would be the case, but are you a monetization company or are you an entertainment company? We’re an entertainment company and when we get that right, everything else flows from it.”
NBA 2K19 is out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Switch on September 11.
Last Updated: June 27, 2018
For the Emperor!
June 27, 2018 at 11:55
Thus far I have also only “upgraded” NBA2K when I got a new console, so only if I get that PS4 Pro (or PS5) will I consider a new NBA game.
However, other than accidentally buying a PS4 Pro, I for one will not get 2K19. One reason is multiplayer being forced into the 2K18 MyCareer (I literally have sponsor objectives that require Gold and playing with others, and I had to reduce my XBox privacy settings just to be able to play MyCareer – a single player mode!). Another is the constant badgering to buy VC, and the MyCareer being designed as such a slog that you start feeling “I should just buy VC” (I have not and will not). Seriously, it sometimes feels like a single match takes an hour at least with all the crap that cannot be skipped. And first going to the locker rooms (load screen), then to the court (load screen), then to the 50 different screens before tip-off. And the darn thing regularly changing my shoes and then I get crapped out for not wearing the correct sponsor shoes.
ALSO ALSO: too many bugs and crashes! This is the ONLY console game I have ever played that constantly crashes in load screens. And the commentary glitches – “DJ now has 15 rebounds” when I have 16. Every second quarter talking about my previous performance and if I can match that, when my average is 30 points, 25 rebounds, 4 blocks. Of course I can replicate that performance! I just did it 30 matches in a row! I am just ranting now, aren’t I? lol