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NBA 2K19 Tests the Limits of Acceptable Microtransactions

The latest addition to the NBA 2K franchise seems to push the existence of micro-transactions to their limits, earning more than a little criticism.

Another year, another chapter in the NBA 2K franchise has arrived, with NBA 2K19 bringing the action of the NBA court to our living rooms. While many praise the enhanced gameplay and updated graphics, there’s still a lingering issue that just won’t seem to go away: Micro-Transactions.

NBA 2K19 has a swathe of micro-transactions to purchase, from player stats, to Gatorade for your player to drink for a quick boost, even vehicles to make the Neighborhood mode go a little quicker. While many would say the existence of micro-transactions is not necessarily a bad thing and point to the cosmetic options available in games such as Overwatch and League of Legends, in NBA 2K19 it seems the virtual currency has a bit more of an effect.

The MyCareer mode in NBA 2K19 will allow players to spend their virtual currency to improve their player, and as noted by Luke Plunkett from Kotaku “my review copy of the game was the fancy Anniversary Edition that came with 100,000 VC baked-in, so I could instantly bump my guy up to an overall rating of 75, which let me cruise through 2K19's lengthy prelude section against Chinese and G-League teams.”

So, what does this mean for the game as a whole? Has NBA 2K really become pay-to-win? While at the moment it seems the more egregious moments revolve around the single-player story mode, meaning that just because you drop a fat stack on in-game currency, you’re probably not going to be able to take down the pro players in the NBA 2K League just yet. However, as NBA 2K19 senior producer Rob Jones mentioned in an interview with Trusted Reviews, “VC is an unfortunate reality of modern gaming.”

It seems that regardless of our personal thoughts on the matter, micro-transactions are here to stay.

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