We're now about five months out since the latest installment in the NBA 2K franchise arrived, but the latest news about NBA 2K24 sales isn't looking as promising as 2K hoped. They're still insisting things will level out through this year, but recent changes may have finally become too much for some players. NBA 2K24 was the most microtransaction heavy title they've had, and that plan for MyCAREER could have finally backfired.
2K reports 'softness' in NBA 2K24 sales impacted 'in-game monetization'
Between the NBA 2K24 VC bundle that was the same cost as their 25th Anniversary Edition to selling Level Skips to jump to Level 40 every six weeks, it appears a chunk of the 2K player base has given up on the franchise for the time being. Microtransactions are nothing new to gaming or the NBA 2K series, but player fatigue over being bombarded with pressure to spend more money on the game could've finally caused that bubble to burst.
In presenting the Take-Two Q3 2024 Earnings last week, the company bragged about Grand Theft Auto and a few other titles while admitting those successes were "offset by softness in mobile advertising and NBA 2K24." Their RCS (Recurrent Consumer Spending Growth) was down 7% which the company said was "driven by weakness in mobile advertising and NBA 2K, which was largely due to the effect of lower unit sales on its in-game monetization."
Take-Two's CEO did insist NBA 2K24 is still "the number one-selling sports title in North America" and point blame towards declining sales on past-gen systems that are "a reflection of consumers transitioning to the new hardware," but the reality is still that NBA 2K24 sales are down. Players looked at this year's game and ultimately decided it wasn't worth buying, and they chose to pass on the series for now or continue playing NBA 2K23.
Part of the reason for this might also be the fact that NBA 2K23 boasted The Jordan Challenge, and it was the first game to introduce the MyNBA Eras feature which immediately gave NBA 2K one of the best franchise mode's in gaming. NBA 2K24 added one time period to MyNBA Eras, but they also replaced The Jordan Challenge with a Kobe Bryant version of the same mode.
While that won't be an issue for every player, there's no doubt some were more interested in a game highlighting Jordan and less interested the follow-up highlighting Bryant, who has admitted to sexually assaulting a woman. For those that aren't bothered by that, NBA 2K24 also continued to push MyCAREER towards a reality where players have to spend money on microtransactions if they ever hope to keep up with top competitors.
Whatever the reasonining may be among each gamer, NBA 2K24 saw lower sales than the company expected and leaves them with questions heading into the eventual release of NBA 2K25. Microtransactions are still too much of a moneymaker for 2K to ever do away with them entirely, but this news might make the company re-evaluate how they impact a game mode like MyCAREER.
With a less microtransaction dependent career mode, NBA 2K25 would have the potential to win back hoards of fans that have abandoned the franchise in recent years. Tack on not having a figure with a questionable past as the focal point, and the series could easily rebound from the failures of NBA 2K24.