NBA 2K20 has achieved an unfortunate distinction just six days after the basketball simulator's launch. NBA 2K20 is now the second lowest-rated game on Steam, trailing behind FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction. Where FlatOut 3 is poorly reviewed due to its technical incompetence, NBA 2K20 has earned this distinction for another reason - its microtransactions.
Starting shortly after its launch on Steam, NBA 2K20 became the target of a review bomb, when a large group of organized individuals used Steam's review system to deliver a high amount of extremely negative reviews over a short period of time. The review bomb appears to be slowing, with only 17 negative reviews written today, but the impact of it persists. Players, regardless of the review bomb, continue to be disappointed in NBA 2K20.
The review bomb stems from NBA 2K20's robust microtransaction system. NBA 2K20 uses an in-game currency called Virtual Currency, or VC, that can be purchased with real money. This currency is used in-game to purchase all manner of content, from shoes to basic slam dunk animations. It's also used to boost stats for players in NBA 2K20's MyCareer mode and buy cards to unlock new players for the MyTeam multiplayer mode. While VC is given out as a reward for playing, it's still limited in availability and reviewers have compared NBA 2K20's microtransactions to gambling.
According to Steam's "Bottom 100" list, NBA 2K20 has a ratio of just 15% positive reviews. That 15% of over 2,700 total reviews. For comparison, FlatOut 3 has just 14% positive reviews. The list's third-lowest title, Airport Simulator 2014, has a ratio of 16% total positive reviews. It goes to show that NBA 2K20 was precariously close to being Steam's lowest-ranked game, and may get there yet. The game's rating has dropped from 15.4% to 14.8% over the past three days.
This isn't the first time an NBA 2K game has made Steam's Bottom 100 with NBA 2K18 comes sitting as the 18th worst rated game on Steam. NBA 2K19 is the 32nd worst rated, though it's seeing a bump further down due to 2K20's review bomb. And the truth is that despite the extremely negative perception of the NBA 2K franchise's microtransactions, they're still remarkably profitable for publisher 2K. NBA 2K19 sold 12 million copies, making it the most successful sports game in the publisher's history. And revenue from microtransactions continues to grow, as well.
Whether NBA 2K20's increased percentage of negative reviews on the PC platform will have a significant effect on the franchise remains to be seen.
NBA 2K20 is available now on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, and mobile devices.