This may come as a shock to absolutely no one, but microtransactions are here to stay in AAA gaming.
More specifically for us, microtransactions are here to stay in the sports gaming space. I know this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone, but I wanted to reinforce it as the AAA sports games come rolling out.
NBA 2K18 was a game that was targeted for its atrocious use of microtransactions in MyCareer. What really cheesed the onions of NBA’s player base was having to spend their VC on a haircut- a haircut you initially couldn’t preview. It seemed that Visual Concepts and 2K Games were out to nickel and dime you, whether it was low VC earning rates or large prices on things like tattoos and haircuts, so you’d spend your real money on their fake money.
This isn’t just limited to NBA 2K18. There’s a reason why games never told you the probability of which cards will be in which packs before this year’s version came out. Pack probabilities being displayed are new to Madden 19 and NBA 2K19 and it’s because players were sick of buying packs and praying they pulled the guy they want.
Ultimately, companies are looking at one thing: their bottom line. In 2017, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen that the EA Ultimate Team model earned them $650 million. You read that right – just their Ultimate Team has earned them upwards of $650 million. It is an unsightly amount of money.
Rob Jones, NBA 2K19 Senior Producer, spoke to Trusted Reviews about microtransactions in the current sport gaming space.
“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. 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…”
What irked me the most about Jones’ interview was the last bit:
“Jones goes on to state that purchasing items seemingly outside of your reach, or requiring a fair bit of grinding, is “a choice, not a force” and hopes players will consider it as such.”
Maybe it is me, but this comes off as extremely disingenuous. While basketball is as simple as shoot the ball into the hoop, the look of your player playing basketball could possibly transcend anything that happens on the court.
The “look” of a player almost means more than their rating. You want your player to be outfitted with the nicest shoes (KD 10’s, please) and rock whatever else you think will have them stand out from the rest of the pool.
The game may not be forcing you to “move up” in the virtual world, but if NBA 2K19 has a poor VC earning rate, you’ll more than likely reach into your wallet than grind for 3 or 4 or 5 hours to get your pair of shorts.
2K has come out and asked their players to reach out to the Belguim Gaming Commission (BGC) because Belguim has deemed that games can not include a loot box style mechanic. This is in response to the incredible loot box surge in 2017 and the on-going debate of whether a loot box style mechanic is gambling. The BGC’s ruling apparently includes purchasing packs with currency like VC.
It should come to no surprise that 2K is able to easily turn off microtransactions and still allow you to purchase your packs with MyTeam points. The same thing happened with Star Wars Battlefront II. EA turned off Battlefront II’s microtransactions and the game still made EA a ton of money.
/u/SuitupGaming on the NBA 2K subreddit posted this image with the title “So this is the message you get in game when trying the Auction House in the Netherlands.“.
We, as gamers, will never to be able to cease the microtransaction train. With games like Fortnite generating hundreds of millions of dollars a month, companies are going to take notice of that and do their best to keep up. You can argue that $60 should be enough, this current landscape is proving that $60 will only provide you with the base game and you’ll have to pay out of pocket to get the “complete experience”.
Want to talk sports and/or games with the fastest growing community in gaming? Join the conversation by registering at the official Sports Gamers Online Forums, and check out our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our growing YouTube Channel!