NBA 2K18 now stands as the lowest rated edition of the series in a decade

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Posted October 2nd, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The story around NBA 2K18 since its release just over two weeks ago has largely centered on consumer reaction to the aggressive monetization and the influence that microtransactions have had directly on the game’s design. Mainstream gaming media and Youtube personalities have covered and escalated the situation which involves the most popular and promoted mode.

It’s also not just user-reviews on Metacritic and Steam that have slammed NBA 2K18. The game is now the lowest-rated NBA 2K game since 2007’s NBA 2K8 by professional reviewers on Metacritic. The sole reason for that are the microtransactions and their harmful effects which several outlets have penalized the game for with low scores, citing the MyPlayer based modes in particular which have been designed in a way to pressure people into spending money to unlock the fun and ability to compete online. 

For a game as highly anticipated as NBA 2K18, and a series which has been a media darling for years, it’s surprising to see such an uproar and unified response from consumers and coverage from the media that recognizes why they are unhappy. Another course-correction on the monetization front is sure to come both in the short and the long term, and it’ll have to be far more significant than the first gesture of lowering the price for character hair cuts and facial hair.

There are a few immediate actions 2K Sports could take to improve the situation. They could heavily increase the amount of VC earned from playing the game or they could reduce the cost of upgrading attributes and/or purchasing cosmetic items, with the former probably being the cleanest and most sensible temporary solution. However the more fundamental changes that have to be made such as starting MyPlayers at a higher Overall Rating, creating online matchmaking that avoids putting low rated characters in games against high rated characters, and separating currencies (both by mode and skills vs cosmetic items) will have to wait for 2K19.

Unfortunately for 2K18 the actual developers that have worked extremely hard to create a very good game had little to nothing to do with the monetization strategy which has overshadowed their impressive efforts. Sales of 2K18 are unlikely to be affected in any measurable manner but there was always going to come a time where the series hit its peak – whether due to something self-inflicted or having reached market saturation – so 2K will have to make a concerted effort next year to demonstrate how they’ve adjusted things to get back to offering a game which has a primary directive to please consumers first rather than go directly for their wallets.

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  • Just a guy

    It’s a shame this happened. This is easily the most fun 2k NBA game I’ve ever played, yet due to the decisions by management they’ve tanked this games score with excessive VC implementation.

    Maybe they’ll learn their lesson next year, but I doubt it. They’re probably making bank this year.

    • Khadeem

      Completely agreed. It’s feels like non VC based modes are not in supported in order to force players to play VC based modes. Why do player matches not have editable preset substitutions. There is no hall of fame lobby. Ranked matches often match you against an opponent using the same team. The tier system is broken. Online association is not as expansive as should be this far into the series. It takes forever to rank up a my career player. In NBA 2k14 it took me 20 percent of the effort it took me to get a high overall My career player. It feels like the archetype system was made in order to make ppl make multiple characters in order spend VC on new characters. You don’t receive all the VC you’re supposed to receive from ranked matches and player matches. My Team packs are expensive and the odds are horrible. It’s ridiculous.

  • MoneyMayweather

    You’re right pasta the sheep will still buy the game but maybe this will give Inroads for live to get some market share. here’s hoping. but I expect 2k18 to sell 9 million but maybe just maybe some people pissed off enough give live a try that’s what Im hoping at this point 2k18 can do no wrong the game is still fun regardless of predatory features and to some gamers thats all that matters but Live 18 is playable an fun too looks like this saves Live for another year 🙂

  • jaceG

    this is good news. 2K knows now they cant get away with this anymore. They didnt just cross the line they sprinted through it

    • MoneyMayweather

      Money talks.

      I doubt this does anything to 2k if the bottomline keeps coming in the black.

      until people talk with their wallels 2k won’t change they don’t need to if copies keep getting sold and people keep spending money on VC

      it’s your own fault you made 2k into huge juggarnaut now they can fuck you over anyway they want. you made 2k bigger than life the fans put 2k up on a pedestal and trashed live over and over again

      you reap what you sow 2k knows people will still pay for everything they have no reason to change if there rolling in the money

  • ClubSteve

    it’s a shame that VC has gotten to the point where if affects our enjoyment of the game…..it’s probably a great game too. i guess they added my neighorhood but at a price. i see why they have VC but it has gotten ridiculous.

  • jon

    I’m glad 99 overall isn’t available to casual gamers, especially with the eleague coming. The game is playable with an overall 75-80 myplayer, but still it takes some of the fun out of it. Things like haircuts, tattoos, clothing and accessories are just way too expensive this year considering how stingy 2k got with the VC

  • Shaun

    It’s the best nba game I’ve ever played..

  • Bill

    Where is Keith with the screenshots?

  • NELL86

    I’m surprise there wasn’t more this game is broken broken broken

  • Hoops

    I sold my copy. Couldn’t put up with so many microtransactions and glitches. I expected a better and more polished game from 2K.

  • Cedric Nash

    Park is horrible this year! Shouldve kept it like last year.. Leveling up to unlock animations we’re fun. Be affiliated with a park was fun. I much rather play career and buy career animations that play park

  • ClubSteve

    pasta, is 2k18 including the new all-star game format as well?

    • Don’t know if they have plans for that, theoretically it’s something they could patch in (and I’d put fairly good odds on them doing just that) but it may not prove to be a priority.

      • ClubSteve

        hoping they do…..adding all-star weekend would be a nice addition as well.

  • Bigman

    Not to mention it’s hard to link up in a 5 vs 5 reg teams team up, graphics got so downgraded that live looks more realistic, can’t play one on one defense(play LIVE to see and feel the difference) and most of the music is not basketball music. Smh worse 2k in the next gen. PS why Andre Robinson don’t have a defense stopper badge at all.

  • RandomDude

    How can people expect a better game year after year and are not willing to pay for it? You want improvements but only want to pay $80 for it every year.

    • al_frick

      Their changes every year are incremental at best. Much is recycled. And $60 per game is not enough revenue for them? Other game devs are able to make it work.

      • RandomDude

        Yea but you don’t know how much work goes into making this game. They have to work with hundreds of individual players with their own custom skill sets as a default. There’s also fans and the arena and the physics of the basketball. Plus they have to do that every year AND improve on it. Yes $60 isn’t enough. You can only make so much from that. People who work for them want to get paid and an increase in pay year to year if they have to keep doing more work

        • jms101087

          As keith points out at every turn, they sell what 8 million+? Now multiply that by 60, if you think that doesnt more than pay for it, then you sir are incorrect.

          • RandomDude

            Yea it tends to average that. People want improvements in the same timeframe. That’s takes more people and or more time and people tend to not always want to work for the same amount their entire career especially when their workload increases.