NBA 2K24 Should Leave VC Behind

Each year eager fans of the NBA 2K franchise flock to MyCareer mode to create their own star and win the NBA championship with their favourite team. With its in-game currency, a player's skills and appearance can both be upgraded with a plethora of options to make their athlete unique.

Currently, players are dependent on the income their athlete makes in MyCareer mode for improving performance in each game. Not only this, but if they want to customize their athlete to look like a true NBA star in the making, they also rely on this same currency to cover them in the best suits, outfits, and shoes.

There are some limitations to the current system that has been in place for several 2K titles, this is how we would approach in-game currency in NBA 2K24.

VC for everything

In NBA 2K23 and many of the previous instalments in the 2K franchise, players are able to earn currency through their in-game performances, daily spin rewards, and by completing challenges. With this in-game currency, players are able to improve their overall MyCareer experience, on and off the court.

The in-game currency in NBA 2K, known as 'VC', is used to increase the individual statistics of the players. After earning VC, players can visit the attributes page to boost the rating of various areas in their game, from layup proficiency to perimeter defense and everything in between. With each skill improvement, gamers take another step toward improving their player's overall rating.

A created athlete from NBA 2K23 MyCareer mode walking into the New York Knicks arena in a brown shirt and long pants
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Credit: NBA 2K23
Players can choose to look the part or play the part of NBA star

In addition to performance, VC is also used to upgrade the player's appearance. Appearance is a very broad and expansive component of MyCareer mode, as players can choose a variety of different clothes, accessories, and even vehicles to stand out from the crowd. From shirts and suits to tattoos and even in-line skates, VC is the key to unlocking a limitless supply of customisation options and creating a truly unique persona.

While both performance and appearance are incredibly deep pieces to the MyCareer puzzle, the current in-game currency system forces players to decide between playing or looking the part of an NBA star. Despite the potential in MyCareer mode, the limitations of the in-game currency system take away from the experience, particularly off the court.

The price of playing

In theory, the current in-game currency system is a solid foundation from which a truly expansive virtual NBA experience can be built. However, there are limitations in the current setup, particularly the item prices against VC income. This is more obvious when comparing the player's salary upon completion of each game.

The average a player will make per game is 650 VC, before any potential performance or sponsorship bonuses. With this in mind, the cost of applying player improvements and putting together new looks borders on outrageous.

At its lowest cost, players are able to increase their athlete's abilities by one point for each category for 100 VC. However, this is the base price and with each purchase in the same category, the price goes up. Essentially, the better the player, the more expensive their performance upgrades.

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It is particularly pressing in NBA 2K23 that performance improvements be made as the player's starting overall rating is 60, while their fellow players average a rating of over 80. A 60 rating cannot compete with the majority of the bench on each team, let alone the starters. A rookie center has less than a fighting chance when matched up against the likes of Embiid or Jokic with their 95+ ratings.

Several photos of NBA players in pre-game outfits from season 2021
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It's time for 2K to step up its fashion accessibility

In regard to cosmetics, players are brought into their first NBA season in a daft brown shirt and long pants and have no options to choose from as a starting look. To improve this, you basically have to forego any aspirations of improving the athlete's rating.

The cheapest item of basic clothing that can be found in the stores is 600 VC, which is a shirt similar to the default one, only in a different colour. If players want to really step up their drip game, they could be looking at paying as much as 15,000 VC for one shirt.

Putting this into the perspective of the average player, decking out their rookie with a slick new outfit, shoes, and a few tattoos would require that they continuously perform well with a 60 rating, against players rated 80 and over, and not make any improvements. The alternative would be to play almost the entire rookie season with the most basic clothing and look at making cosmetic improvements in Year 2.

Opening up the world

The simplest solution to the look vs performance issue that all NBA 2K players face is to not have them choose between the two. As two completely separate components of the MyCareer experience, there is no reason for the both of them to be so heavily intertwined and interfere with one another. The solution requires introducing two different currencies; VC can be kept to improve player abilities, while a second currency can be used specifically for cosmetic improvements.

Given the prevalence of pre-game fashion in the NBA today, opening up customisation options further would only serve to give a more authentic player experience, as it will allow for a level of participation that extends beyond the court. Not to mention, it would fit the narrative of growing a player from a rookie to superstardom, by elevating their off-court game to reflect an athlete who continues to grow in skill, confidence, and appeal to the fans.

A separate currency system for players to improve their athlete outfits and appearance would make sense as the next step in the growth of MyCareer mode. In fact, it could be argued that fashion can very much become a facet of the game mode that can influence fan interactions and appeal. By coming to games in a sharp suit, we could see this have as much of an impact on fan appeal as a highlight play on the court.

Considering how important sponsorships are for income in MyCareer mode, this could also include popular clothing brands and become a very important component of the player's rise to stardom.

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