NBA 2K23 MyCAREER provides another year where players can pursue their basketball dreams, but those dreams might be expensive.
While using in-game VC to max out your MyPLAYER isn't new, several changes in NBA 2K23 have made the process even less attainable.
NBA 2K23 MyCAREER requires massive investment to max your MyPLAYER to 99 OVR
Microtransactions are nothing new, but NBA 2K23 MyCAREER might be pushing things too far this year for your MyPLAYER.
While you start MyCAREER with a player at a meager 60 OVR, your progress through quests and other challenges in MyCAREER is meant to push that rating upwards as you go.
While sports titles like Madden 23 and MLB The Show 22 allow for attribute boosts based on your in-game progression, things are a bit more separated for NBA 2K23.
MLB The Show 22 increases your attributes on a game-by-game basis with the in-game performance itself influencing which stats rise and fall.
Madden 23 still uses a Skill Points system, but all of those points to reach 99 OVR are earned naturally as you play through a few seasons.
Unfortunately, the path to a maxed out MyPLAYER in NBA 2K23 is looking more difficult than ever before with it heavily linked to Virtual Currency.
NBA 2K23 nearly doubled the VC cost to max out your MyPLAYER
While maxing out your player is a time-honored tradition for sports gamers, it's an increasingly pricey one in the NBA 2K franchise.
VC or Virtual Currency is used in-game to increase your stats, and 2K tends to skirt around the cost of purchasing it separately by insisting you can play without it.
Last year, the average cost to max out your MyPLAYER to 99 OVR was approximately 250,000 VC, but that's spiked significantly.
According to gamers on Reddit, the cost of getting your MyPLAYER to 99 OVR is approximately 460,000 VC in NBA 2K23.
That's an estimate partially because build cost can vary slightly depending on the player, but the other reason is that you can't even check this in-game.
At least, not until you've grinded in MyCAREER to raise your player's max overall limit, because even in the attributes screen it only shows the cost to raise to your current max.
In our case, with a character that's played tons of games and finished all the core main quests in MyCAREER including College Flashbacks and The Classic, that player still sits with a 90 OVR max.
The cost to upgrade that player from 70 OVR to 90 OVR is nearly 230,000 VC, but these numbers aren't even accessible until you've already poured hours upon hours into the game.
NBA 2K23 MyCAREER's quests offer a fraction of the max upgrade cost
The defense for 2K and other developers that include microtransactions is always that players "aren't required" to spend extra money to play.
That's technically true, and that's why they still get away with it, but the reality for NBA 2K23 is that the time investment would be astronomical to max without paying.
In our journey playing through all the core quests including The Classic and becoming MVP of The City, we were sitting at 70 OVR with about 60,000 VC.
While some of that is from quests, the vast majority is from simply playing NBA games in MyCAREER that net between 500 and 1,000 VC per game depending on your performance.
One user pointed out that averaging 1,000 VC per game would still require 460 games, approximately 4.7 MyCAREER seasons if you sweep every game along the way.
If you only spend 20 minutes on each game, which can often take even longer, that's upwards of 154 hours of playtime on the games alone.
In reality, the number is likely significantly higher as it doesn't include time to complete quests, loading times, and cutscenes throughout that happen before and after those games.
Microtransactions are king whether 2K will admit it or not
While you can still play in NBA 2K23 MyCAREER with a less powerful MyPLAYER, you'll find the skill gap is already racing away.
Playing online in one of the many MyCAREER game modes will quickly become populated most by players willing to push their way to the top as soon as possible.
In order to have any hope of staying competitive, players will likely turn to VC in order to give themselves an edge while saving time.
It's almost certainly no coincidence that the average cost to max out a MyPLAYER to 99 OVR is extremely close to the highest cost VC bundle sold by 2K.
If you're willing to drop $99.99 out of pocket, in addition to the $59.99 to $149.99 you already paid for NBA 2K23 depending on edition, then you'll receive 450,000 VC.
Only the exorbitantly priced Michael Jordan and Championship Edition of NBA 2K23 included 100,000 VC with purchase, so players who were willing to spend extra save a little later on, but it's far from enough to reach the max.
Between the massive product placement and constant pressure on players to spend more, NBA 2K23 seems to be better at simulating capitalism than basketball.