Microtransactions in NBA 2K25: Will 2K Learn from Past Mistakes?

The effects of years of Microtransaction greed in NBA 2K are starting to take its toll on the player base. Will NBA 2K25 learn from its past mistakes?

Microtransactions in NBA 2K25: Will 2K Learn from Past Mistakes?

The elephant in the room for several years, the thing holding 2K back from critical acclaim, the thing gamers are sick and tired of (and getting burnt out over) – is of course the dreaded Microtransactions. 2K’s Virtual Currency (VC) is used to upgrade player’s abilities, clothing and accessories, MyTEAM packs, and much more.

Yes, everyone understands a corporation as big as 2K needs to make that bread, but with zero competitors in the market for some time (NBA Live imploded long ago), 2K has predictably taken advantage of that absence by price-gauging the costs and basically made the main game modes 100% pay to play. The ones who’ve suffered? The loyal 2K fans. Who’ve either begrudgingly tolerated it, complained about it, sued 2K, or left the franchise altogether.

Should the cost to functionally play ONE videogame rival ‘real-life’ expensive hobbies? 2K seems to think so, and will keep doing it as long as there’s no competition and people keep buying. When you factor in the cost to max out just one MyPLAYER Build, the amount of money people plop down on the MyTEAM roller coaster, boosts, apparel, and of course the initial $70 – $150 price tag to buy the game – costs could exceed $500 – $1000 (or more) over the life cycle of the game. There’s even 2K streamers like Troydan who are spending tens of thousands of dollars on MyTEAM. Of course players can do things the old-fashioned way if they have hundreds or thousands of hours to spend manually grinding for VC – which is of course intentionally unrealistic.

What 2K seems to not understand is that this may not be a sustainable path. Something working for a few years doesn’t mean it works long-term. They seem to have forgotten that NBA Live was the #1 selling NBA videogame for many years, and they finally fell off when they forgot about the customer and blindly chased profits.

It’s starting to now show up in the numbers. NBA 2K sales are actually down, and the 2K Community is burnt out. We had their back and gladly opened our wallets while innovations were delivered like Neighborhood, City, etc. We accepted that trade-off. But the game has become more stale, and some fans are seeing the trade-off as something they’re less willing to accept. Sentiment about what is actually a pretty good game of virtual basketball, continues to be overshadowed and soured by the relentless, unforgiving pursuit of nickel-and-diming the customer for as much money as possible. 2K’s blind spot (and NBA Live had many blind spots) is that they seem to be without any concern about how this will affect the customer base (and their loyalty) long-term. Revenue and the bottom line don’t always tell the whole story. There are other metrics to a successful videogame or company than just revenue. Things like how the game is received critically, customer loyalty, customer sentiment, brand perception, etc. The most recent instalment of NBA 2K is currently sitting at a putrid user rating of 2.4 (out of 10) on Meta Critic.

Will NBA 2K25 be more of the same? Will they see some of the writing on the wall? We’ll all have to wait and see. Hopefully, NBA 2K25 finds a way to to make Microtransactions more fair for players while still being profitable.

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