NBA 2K18 Microtransaction Concerns Acknowledged By Exec
"There has been some pushback about monetization in the industry."
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NBA 2K18's microtransaction system has proven controversial with some amount of the audience, but in large part, the reception to the game overall has been positive, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick said during an earnings call today. Zelnick pointed out that critics and fans alike are enjoying the game, as evidenced in part by the number of average daily players rising year-over-year. Sales are also up year-over-year, coming in at 6 million shipped by Take-Two's latest count.
Still, Zelnick said if fans are concerned, that's something the company will look at and potentially make changes as a result. "We take consumer feedback very, very seriously indeed," Zelnick said. "There has been some pushback about monetization in the industry. The good news is the title was reviewed extraordinary well. People love it. The other news is that entertainment is a want-to-have business, not a must-have business."
"People vote ultimately with the usage. And the usage on this title is up 30 percent in terms of average daily users," he added. "The title itself, unit sales are up 20 percent year-over-year. So people are clearly voting that they love NBA 2K18 and the reviews reflect that as well. That said, we are concerned about any perception, any negative feedback .. and we're taking it really seriously."
At the center of the controversy around NBA 2K18's microtransactions is the Virtual Currency system. It's been present in past entries, but for the new game, our review and others pointed out that VC doesn't flow as freely. That means it can feel like you need to spend money to advance your character. "Microtransactions are everywhere, and trying to advance without them feels nearly impossible," our review said.
2K Sports has made some changes to NBA 2K18's VC system. For example, 2K dropped the VC values for things like haircuts and facial hair. For some, however, the changes to the VC system haven't been enough. As Zelnick says, 2K is listening to feedback, but it remains to be seen just how extensive future changes will be.
Zelnick's comments about NBA 2K18 came as part of Take-Two's latest earnings report where the company confirmed GTA V has now shipped 85 million copies.