Concern Now Heightened Over Universal Currency System in MLB 14: The Show

Posted January 8th, 2014 at 3:45 pm


The exclusive pre-order bonus at Gamestop for MLB 14: The Show was initially disconcerting but given the controversy over next-gen NBA 2K14’s damaging Virtual Currency implementation it has become more of a concern on the minds of consumers. Those who pre-order from the retailer will get $20 of the new “Universal In-Game Currency”. 

Use currency to redeem any of the following in-game items: Diamond Dynasty Budget, Road to the Show Training Points, Franchise Budget, Road to the Show Heal, and the all new Road to the Show 2x and 4x Boosts. (PS4, PS3, PS Vita)

This represents an evolution of the previous system in The Show which, while offering the opportunity to purchase boosts in the individual modes, never felt necessary or forced upon. Putting such a focus on In-Game Currency by making it a major pre-order incentive suggests it’ll play a bigger role. Besides just that the “Universal” part is deeply troubling.

Two major problems with NBA 2K14’s universal pool of currency came with prohibiting progression for those playing more than one mode and removing the ability to successfully manage and sim through games in its MyGM franchise mode without spending money. Because it’s a universal system 2K did not want to allow people the ability to sim for the purpose of accumulating VC of which they could then spend in a different mode.

Simming is practically a necessity for consumers in MLB titles which have seasons that stretch 162 games. If the “In-Game Universal Currency System” means that earnings in one mode and can be spent in others then The Show would potentially have to eliminate the ability to earn while simming. However the respective mode would also have to be designed in a way that both produces currency and prohibits advancement without paying for abilities as was done in 2K14’s MyGM. It would seem extremely unlikely that SCEA would go to those same lengths and they undoubtedly recognize the importance of being able to sim through Franchise mode.

Another action that should soothe some fears is the coming ability to migrate saves to the next year’s title. If SCEA planned to institute a system that relied on gamers buying their way through (whether with earned or purchased currency) the various modes they would want people starting all over the next year so as to face the same challenges and barriers again.

When EA Sports introduced Connected Careers/Franchise in Madden they went out of their way to communicate that microtransactions would not be a part of the mode. 2K however withheld information on how their VC system had spread to its franchise mode in NBA 2K14 and that it basically meant the game would be always-online and dependent on their unreliable servers.

SCEA is now in the position where they need to fully explain their implementation so there is a full understanding of how it may affect the experience. Privately I’ve been assured that it won’t be nearly as harmful as 2K14 but the details on how it’ll factor in are scarce.

That needs to change and the sooner the better. One thing is for certain – consumers are now totally justified in anticipating the worst unless evidence is provided to the contrary. It’s something that these companies will have to consider when communicating changes being made or introducing new features in the future.