NBA 2K20 launched less than a week ago and it is already having a rocky start. Lately, sports games have been notorious for including a large amount of microtransactions, but it seems like the latest installment in the popular basketball franchise has taken things to a whole new level.
Fans are expressing their disgust with the game's microtransactions by review bombing the game on Steam, where at the time of writing it is sitting at an "Overwhelmingly Negative" review score, with only 16% of the reviews being positive. Some reviewers have even gone so far as to say that NBA 2K20's many microtransactions make the game more like a casino than a basketball game.
Microtransactions are fairly commonplace with sports games these days, and NBA 2K20 is no exception. Players can spend money in many different ways, from card packs and slots to pachinko machines. The sheer number of microtransactions has the internet in an uproar. The Steam reviews are littered with scathing criticisms of the game, like "The worst version of NBA 2K I've played" and funnier ones such as "10/10 They put a basketball minigame in one of the best gambling simulator game on Steam!" which is one of the few "positive" reviews on the page.
NBA 2K20 is not the first game to implement more casino-like practices. Grand Theft Auto Online now features a full casino where players can spend in-game money (which can be bought with real money) on any number of gambling activities. The casino features horse races players can bet on, slots, blackjack, roulette, and more. Grand Theft Auto V didn't receive nearly as much backlash as NBA 2K20 is receiving now, though it is still online gambling. Practices like these are unfortunately a growing trend in gaming lately.
Review bombing is unfortunately pretty common, and similar instances happened with earlier NBA 2K games as well. NBA 2K19 is still sitting at a "Mostly Negative" review score, and NBA 2K18 is also sitting at "Mostly Negative."
NBA 2K19 removed loot boxes from the Belgian copy of the game due to Belgium's ban on loot boxes, so something similar may happen should the United States ever implement anti-loot box legislation. Unfortunately until then fans will either have to avoid these cash-grab schemes or simply avoid NBA 2K20 altogether.
NBA 2K20 is available now for PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.