NBA 2K23 has been out for almost three weeks now, and the game has generated some very polarizing opinions. Fans and critics alike seem to agree that many additions to this year’s game like the MyNBA Eras and new gameplay additions make it an improvement over previous versions. The negative sentiment is circulating, however, regarding VC in this year’s game.
The Problem with NBA 2K23 VC
VC in NBA 2K23 stands for virtual currency and can either be earned by players by playing NBA 2K23 and completing certain requirements, or purchased for real money. This is most often used in the MyCareer mode, where players create their own player and play out their career. In this mode, VC is used to purchase almost everything to customize a player. Attribute upgrades, clothes, vehicles, boosts, and animations all must be purchased using VC.
The main problem for fans so far has been the amount of VC required to purchase these items in-game. For example, it is estimated that to fully upgrade a player it would cost around 400,000 – 500,000 VC. Now this wouldn’t be so bad if players could earn VC at a good rate by playing the game. However, that does not seem to be the case.
For playing one NBA game on Pro difficulty with 10 minutes quarters, I was getting about 1,000 VC per game. Players were able to get 100,000 VC by purchasing the Digital Deluxe or Michael Jordan versions of the game. Players can also earn about 100,000 XP by playing through the main story of the MyCareer mode. This is the point I am at myself. I have put this 200,000 VC, plus the VC I got from the 30 or so NBA games I have played so far, entirely into upgrading my player’s attributes. No clothes, no animations, no VC has been spent on anything but my attributes. With all that VC being spent, my player is currently an 87 OVR. Not bad, but certainly not as good as many other players who have put more money into the game.
That is what players feel they have to do this year in order to be competitive online. For some reason, it takes an extreme amount of VC to upgrade your player past a 90 OVR. 450,000 VC, which is in the middle of the estimated range for fully upgrading one player, costs $99.99. So, on top of a game that players spent upwards of $150 on, they also need to pay an additional $100 in some cases to be competitive online.
This is why NBA 2K23 player are upset with the current state of the economy in the game. The discussion has been so widespread that Ronnie 2k was asked about it on a recent podcast appearance. On the September 22 episode of the Visionaries with Jacob Wolf podcast, Ronnie was asked if he had been following the online discussion regarding VC pricing for upgrades in MyCareer.
Ronnie said, “We’re trying to put out as much content as possible and give the consumer as much as we can. I remember that the cost of the game when the generation shifted was a big conversation. And obviously the price and opportunity cost of making a game has gone up a lot. But, I think we still do a very very good job of giving as much content as possible.”
He then went on to compare the value of video games to that of going to a movie. “We’re giving you hundreds of hours of entertainment versus a couple hours in the theatre.” Ronnie also reiterated that players are not forced to spend money to increase their player, saying, “There’s ways to earn your way to that as well and we are trying to give the opportunity to play the game the way that you want to and not force you down any lane.”
Many players disagree with this, as they feel NBA 2K23 does in fact try to push players towards spending money in the game. The incredibly long grind required to earn enough VC to fully upgrade a player backs up this argument. Like I said, I have already player almost half a season of NBA games, plus got 200,000 extra VC from buying the Digital Deluxe version of the game and completing the story. Based off most estimates, I might need to play another 200 or so NBA games to get enough VC to fully upgrade my player. That’s two and a half more NBA seasons before I will be a 99 OVR. Or I could spend money and be a 99 OVR right now.
What do you think about this? Does NBA 2K23 do a good enough job of not forcing players to spend extra money on the game on VC? Or is the grind too much and need to be adjusted?