Following a recent ruling in Belgium that loot boxes need to be regulated under its gambling laws, publisher 2K Games is asking NBA 2K players to fight the power to restore their microtransactions.
NBA 2K19, as with previous entries in the series, allows players to buy virtual currency (VC) to spend on MyTeam card packs, which randomly hand out things like players, jerseys, coaches, and more. It’s basically 2K’s version of EA’s Ultimate Team setup. The problem is that NBA 2K19 is turning off the ability for players to spend VC on MyTeam packs in Belgium, and 2K is not happy about that.
In a recent statement (via PCGamesN) to its Belgian fans, 2K Games is encouraging players who want to be able to pay for virtual card packs that become obsolete in a year to “contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion.”
Here’s the statement in full:
The Belgium Gaming Commission (BGC) has stated that games which include certain ‘loot box’ style mechanics violate gambling laws in Belgium. While we disagree with this position, we are working to comply with the BGC’s current interpretation of these laws. As a result, we have made some local changes to the MyTeam mode. These changes are necessary in order for us to accommodate the BGC’s interpretation of the Belgian Gaming Act. Specifically, we will be turning off the ability to purchase packs with premium (non-earned) currency/VC. Gamers are still able to acquire packs with MyTeam points. We will be continuing conversations with the BGC in order to explain our view on how NBA 2K and MyTeam pack purchases already comply with local laws. If you agree, we recommend that you contact your local government representative to communicate your opinion. We will keep the community posted on any developments. We apologize for any inconvenience.
At launch, NBA 2K18 was lousy with opportunities for players to spend VC, whether it was on MyTeam card packs, character attributes, or even just a hairdo for your created player. Developer Visual Concepts later lowered prices on how much VC certain items cost, but its reputation for being a microtransaction-driven machine is still following NBA 2K19 up to its impending launch.
Despite all that, it’s clear that 2K Games and Visual Concepts have no intention of slowing down when it comes to making loot boxes and other microtransactions a driving force of its basketball series. Senior producer Rob Jones recently told Trusted Reviews (via VG 24/7) that “VC is an unfortunate reality of modern gaming” and that every “game, at some point, in some way has currency and they’re trying to get additional revenue from each player that plays the game.”
Hopefully, NBA 2K19‘s grind will be a little more forgiving than last year’s, making the act of spending money on VC more of an option than a necessary evil like it was in NBA 2K18. Still, it sounds like if you want to spend money on VC in Belgium, you can only spend it on haircuts and attribute boosts.
NBA 2K19 launches on September 7th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC.