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Time to retire from NBA 2K?

NBA 2K25 Game
While many fans are excited for this year’s NBA 2K25, this may be the beginning of the end. (Credit: 2K)

Time to Retire from NBA 2K?

NBA 2K24 is marking the last straw for players… or so we may hope. As a long-time player, I have seen the franchise’s highs and lows. With the upcoming NBA 2K25, that game may signal the first game I decide not to play on day one. 

2K25 has already revealed their cover athletes with Jayson Tatum, A’ja Wilson, and Vince Carter. 2K25 is kicking off the annual cycle for their latest installment of the franchise, and as many people begin to get excited for another 2K once again, I am being very cautious.

I can easily wear rose-tinted glasses and ignore the signs that came with the cover reveal. The same process happens every year; 2K reveals the cover of the newest game and proceeds to make pre-orders available–all without showing anything in terms of gameplay. The money tactics they have had in place, disguised as their “marketing strategy,” are preying on your impulse to pre-order the game with very little information.

To boost the game’s popularity in terms of sales no matter how the game is coming along, high pre-order numbers can be what business people are looking at.

The 2K Experience

My experience playing the recent versions of 2K has been on the decline. For 2K24’s cycle, my friends and I gave up on the game in October/November, a far cry from when we would play well into the summer–only going back for a few days and then leaving the game for weeks on end. After the release of games like Call of Duty and Spider-Man 2, 2K24 seemed more like a waste of my time to play.

NBA 2K has had many issues from gameplay, continuously promoting exploits in mechanics in terms of dribbling, etc., to the developers patching the game within the first few weeks to completely downplay what the game was supposed to be like.

Microtransactions are being shoved in players’ faces at every turn. The increase in price year after year for things like your MyPlayer and MyTeam packs not helping–all at the detriment of getting players to play the game and progress without feeling the need to make additional payments, which they doubled down on with the season pass model.

For me, there’s not a real incentive to play. As someone who spent much time in the Rec Center, there was little attempt to promote playing that or Pro-Am. Outside of the one time in the month when it was for double XP.  If they don’t begin addressing their issues, what is stopping 2K25 from just being the same problems all over again?

The player base for NBA 2K is in an abusive relationship. It is no secret many players are fed up with the state of the game. It is hard to foresee a future where 2K25 is where suddenly changes are made to their games. Everyone knows they can drive change with their wallets. But for one reason or another, they just return to the same cycle, expecting things to be different—which, by the way, is the definition of insanity.

Overall, I want 2K25 to be a better experience. It’s mindblowing how this game has strayed so far from its former glory, and we allowed this process to happen over the years.

Waiting for the game to go on Game Pass in February or whenever is most likely the play. Maybe a fan revolt or a new basketball game to compete may change things but at this moment it is not looking so good.

However, subjecting myself to investing in a game that has actively done the least amount of work possible to create an enjoyable basketball experience. Instead, prioritizing monetization at every turn at the cost of the enjoyable experience could very well lead to another year of frustration. NBA 2K’s tagline for 2K25 is #BallOverEverything … I’ll believe it when I see it. 

In any case, it would have been a good run for me.

***

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