NBA 2K made headlines last week when they released a ridiculous statement urging Belgian fans to help push local government representatives to bring back the recently banned paid lootboxes. While the developers clearly missed the memo regarding fan perception of paid lootboxes (as in nobody actually wants that “feature” in the game), they somehow grasped the idea that forcing gamers to pay real money to give characters in-game haircuts is a bit over-the-top.
A Kotaku story today highlighted the fact that unlike its predecessor, NBA 2k19 no longer requires players to pay real money to give their in-game characters a haircut. What’s particularly interesting about this change is the fact that the devs introduced a short in-game scene where the game’s new barber actually talks about the issue. Check it out below.
NBA 2K18 was notorious for the overwhelming amount of content locked behind paywalls with several media companies and influencers writing scathing pieces about this unfavorable development. The sheer number of microtransactions and hyper aggressive in-game monetization mechanics led 2K18 to be the lowest rated title in the series in the past 10 years.
The series developer, Visual Concepts, finally realized that making players who already paid $60 USD for a AAA title shell out even more cash for content that is already in-game, isn’t a very good idea. While removing paid-haircuts out of the game is definitely a step in the right direction, it seems like this aspect of in-game purchases are here to stay.
Trustedreviews had the chance to speak with 2K Sports Senior Producer Rob Jones on the subject and he described how he felt that this shift was an “unfortunate reality of modern gaming.”
“Every game, at some point, in some way has currency and they’re trying to get additional revenue from each player that plays the game. You know, the question has to be when does it feel like it’s a straight money grab versus when does it feel like it’s value added, right?”
Jones goes on to put some blame on the impatience of the typical gamer for this development saying:
“We know nowadays that most people don’t have the patience to work their way to the top. They just wanna be there right away. So, you know, we look at it as, oh it’s an opportunity for us to allow you to skip the grind, but then if the grind is too long, like some people felt last year, they’re gonna sit there and they’re gonna go ‘well, you knew the grind was too long to begin with.”
While it’s hard to argue with both of these ideas, I’d like to believe that most gamers are not as unreasonable as Jones paints – we recognize the difference between games that have a well-thought balanced progression system and games that seem to funnel us into paying for content. Ultimately, developers need to be in touch with their player-base so they understand where the line is drawn between “money grab” and “value added.” These days, it seems like more and more companies aren’t doing a good enough job listening.
Featured Image Source: Techspot