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Next Gen - NBA 2K14: The problem with microtransactions 
Posted on November 29, 2013 at 12:45 AM.
During the buildup to the Playstation 4 launch, my wife asked me, "which game are you most excited to play?" I responded, "If I could only play one, I'd pick NBA 2K14." The preview videos looked amazing and I played the heck out of NBA 2K13 on my Xbox 360 and loved everything except the annoying high-paced startup music.

Skipping ahead, the PS4 finally launched and the first game I played was indeed NBA 2K14. The graphics did wow and the gameplay was just as good as I expected. With the addition of the deeper GM experience, I was ready to overlook the awkward un-unified option and gameplay menus, the lack of mascots, no fans walking up-and-down in the arena aisles, only a single camera man on the baseline, no dancers, and no ability to save rosters or draft classes to my system.

After learning how to setup my GM mode, I decided to begin the Suns rebuilding process. However, before I could play, I got a weird message. The game would not load my GM file until the 2K server came back online. So even though I'm finally sitting on my couch after a long week at work and ready to play, I was out of luck because a server somewhere in the world was down.

I admit, it wasn't the end of the world, but I canceled my Xbox One preorder because I never have warmed to having my games depend on the up-time of a server. Once more, if the game is really good, I usually keep it. I still play NFL 2K5 on my Xbox and have never liked the idea that when a company decides to take a server down, my game stops working.

The next generation version of NBA 2K14 was a different situation still. Something far worse. You see, I could not play my game because Take Two wants to ensure NBA 2K14's virtual currency flows through 2K servers. Why? Because huge portions of the game are off limits until you earn or, more likely, purchase tens-of-thousands of credits.

Basically, to my disappointment, I discovered the great game I expected was there, but buried under mountains of virtual currency and totally dependent on 2K servers being up. Fortunately, I purchased my copy of NBA 2K14 from a retailer that accepts returns for broken products.
Comments
# 1 asu666 @ Nov 29
Thanks TheRealHST, it's good to see I'm not the only one feeling alienated by the practice.
 
# 2 bxphenom7 @ Dec 1
In terms of VC, just play the game and earn the VC. No need to ever buy VC. It does stink that you can't play offline with SP anymore, if that's what you're getting at. But at the end of the day, don't buy any microtransactions. Not difficult.
 
# 3 asu666 @ Dec 1
bxphenom, thanks for commenting, but my point is the inclusion of microtransaction led to a requirement for an always-on cloud connection for single-player games. I don't want to have to connect to the cloud to play offline Association. It's a dealbreaker for me.
 
# 4 WarlordZMaster @ Dec 2
Right on, VC is BS in this game. Heck, I am running out of player contracts, which means I need more card packs. In fact, had 2 online games, 1 they disconnected and consumed player contracts and 2nd, I got a Loss AND it consumed player contracts. I even had a Domination game boot me, and consume player contracts? I wont be able to put a whole team on the court unless I get more VC. C'mon EA, I mean 2K, this is wrong! Please fix this, or lose customers.
 
# 5 asu666 @ Dec 3
Thanks WarlordZMaster, the drive to monitize NBA 2K is runing the product.
 
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