As September comes to an end, players and streamers alike soak up what’s left of “2K season.” This year’s game, 2K24, marks the 25th anniversary of the most popular basketball video game; and with it comes variations of new features and old memories, all used to maintain the steadily declining player-base and attract new ones. But will they save the franchise or move people further away?
In the 2K community, opinions from players have shaped the narrative that the franchise and game have been on a decline throughout the recent years. Players say that 2K16 and 2K17 was the franchise’s peak and that it has been on a downward spiral since then. Hence, many people are losing hope for the recovery of the game.
“2K17 was the best just for the “MyCareer” alone. Since then, it’s been downhill. We just want something that will make people play the game again,” said Twitch Streamer and avid 2K player, Landon Madison.
This year 2K is implementing many changes, which has some believing that the game will be completely different compared to games in previous years. Most of the changes are “costs to play” and feature-related, which is mainly highlighted on the two most popular game modes, “MyCareer” and “MyTeam.” While there are some modifications that have the community excited – like the addition of Crossplay, and the return of Rep to the “MyCareer” portion of the game – there are some reworks that have many already questioning if it’s worth coughing up the $60 to $150 dollars, depending on what version of the game you’re interested in.
The Big Negative: Paid Season Pass and the Price to Enjoy
Breakdown of the new Season Pass system being introduced in 2K24. Photo courtesy of Nba.2K.com
Over the years the cost of 2K has been a huge issue as the game keeps getting more expensive to enjoy, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon with the new Paid Season Passes.
With the release of 2K21, the game introduced a free “season level” reward system, which allowed players to unlock beneficial rewards in the “MyTeam” or “MyCareer” game mode. 2K24 is the first year that they’re implementing paid versions of this system into the game.
Similar to other games, 2K has seen the financial success of the “battle pass” system, popularized by Battle Royale games, like Fortnite and Apex Legends. Now, they’re introducing this program into the sports gaming world, with the paid versions of the Pro Pass ($10) and the Hall of Fame Pass ($20). Unlike the free version, they give a player additional rewards and perks. It’s important to note that this is not a one time purchase, as 2K comes out with a new season each month. If you want all that the game has to offer, you’ll probably have to spend a pretty penny.
“It’s over…2K has brought in a new low for sports gaming. This isn’t like previous years where you get the game and toss an additional $50 to enjoy. Now, just to access the normal features, normal rewards, and play the game, you’re having to spend an extra $160 on the game,” expressed 2K “MyTeam” YouTuber, DBG, in his video titled ‘This Will Be A Disaster in 2K24.’”
With the addition of the Paid Season Passes, on top of purchasing the game itself, it’s making the community raise an eyebrow at the franchise’s ethics. Problems like the “costs to enjoy the game” have players such as 2K YouTube veteran Chris Smoove frustrated and disappointed in the game already.
“I think the Paid Season Pass is a big fat L. This is going to be very dangerous for the franchise going forward…If it has success, who knows what they’ll do in the future? As far as I’m concerned, they already broke the rules. They’re doing you dirty, they’re finessing.” Smoove said.
Can Some New Features Save the Game?
At this point, players of the game are looking for anything to be excited about, and there are some features being reintroduced that are allowing gamers to hold onto some hope for the survival of the game.
2K thumbnail announcing the introduction of crossplay to their game. Photo courtesy of NBA 2K on YouTube
2K is introducing Crossplay for the first time, which allows gamers to play with people on other gaming systems. This has been heavily requested for a while now, and the new season finally introduces the concept of Xbox and Playstation players playing NBA 2K together, allowing them to settle the debate on which console has the better contenders once and for all.
Additionally, the reintroduction of Rep is coming to this year’s game. Rep provides incentives for grinding the game and gives status in the online portion of “MyCareer” referred to as “The City.” Being that it was a very popular aspect during the franchise’s peak, the return of Rep has players excited, with hopes of it bringing nostalgia to the new game.
“This was definitely a long time coming, and it puts the game in the right direction,” said Madison.
To couple with the Rep, “The City,” where players will be doing most of their reward grinding, has been revamped to give a fresh look and provide a fun atmosphere to play in. With bright colored courts and underwater Atlantis themed arenas, players anticipate a park full of scenic and visually engaging courts.
“This [the Atlantis themed courts] is fire,” said popular 2K YouTuber, iPodKingCarter.
Really, it seems like the only downside to this year’s game – although a big downside – is the Paid Season Pass. Other than that, it looks like the community is trying their hardest to be optimistic about the outcome of this year’s game.
“I’m scared, but I’m looking forward to a completely new experience,” said DBG.
The future of NBA 2K is riding on 2K24. Year after year, many players discuss throwing in the towel and leaving the game entirely; but this year they seem serious about their annual claim, should the game not meet quality expectations and show care for the community. Only time will tell as “2K season” has really just begun.
“As of right now, it feels like they’re finally listening and turning things around, but a lot of people are walking a tightrope with 2K. For several years, everyone said that they’re done playing this game, but this year I mean it. 2K, this is your last chance,” Madison expressed.