Popular NBA 2k Youtuber Chris Smoove recently posted a critique accusing 2k developers of turning their latest game into an NBA 2k24 a money-grab scam. His scathing review has sparked debate in the 2k community. But does Smoove make some valid points about the direction of the franchise?
Smoove Highlights Several Troubling Trends
In his YouTube video, Smoove highlights three major changes in 2k24 that point toward greediness from the developers:
Level 40 Can Now be Bought Instead of Earned
Previously, players had to grind up to level 40 each season to earn top rewards. Now, 2K sells level 40, removing the prestige.
Players Must Re-earn Badges Every Game
Unlike past games where earned badge upgrades persisted permanently, NBA 2K24 introduces a new mechanic called badge regression. Most badges will now decrease or regress if they are not activated frequently enough within a certain number of games.
For example, you may put in the work to improve your Circus Threes shooting badge to gold, granting the ability to hit wildly off-balance jumpers.
But if you have a handful of games where you do not take many wild leaners, Circus Threes will rapidly downgrade back to silver or bronze.
The same punishment can happen on vital defensive badges like Pick Dodger. If you don’t frequently fight through screens over a stretch of games, it will regress despite your proven ability.
The regression speed and criteria vary based on badge type, tier, position, and other opaque factors. However, most share brutally harsh regression rates, plummeting after just 1-3 inactive games. Certain rare badges like Limitless Range may regress significantly after just a single game without use.
Aggressive Monetization and Microtransactions
2k24 introduces new microtransactions and “pay-to-win” mechanics that push virtual currency purchases harder than ever.
A Redditor’s Tale of Disappointment and Frustration
One Reddit user shared their experience trying to compete in 2k24 without spending money:
“I decided not to spend any extra money on microtransactions this year. But after just a few Playground games, I was at an insurmountable disadvantage. My player could barely shoot, dribble, or defend against maxed out pay-to-win opponents. It felt like the game was deliberately holding my player back to force me to spend. In previous 2ks, I never felt so pressured to pay just to make a usable player. It really exposed just how pay-to-win and predatory 2k has become lately.”
This player’s experience shows how the new monetization schemes have sucked the fun out of the game for non-paying players.
Who is Chris Smoove?
For those unfamiliar, Chris Smoove is a prominent NBA 2K gaming influencer on YouTube, with over 2 million subscribers. He’s been posting 2K videos since 2009, making him one of the OG 2K content creators.
Smoove is known for his entertaining and skilled NBA 2K gameplay. His videos showcase abilities like hitting clutch shots, dropping triple-doubles, and dominating opponents.
Beyond raw skills, Smoove provides thoughtful commentary on the evolution of the 2K series over the years. He’s built a reputation for giving honest, at times brutally harsh, reviews of each new 2K title.
Smoove’s longevity and expertise within the 2K space give him a unique perspective. He’s watched the franchise and community grow for over a decade. So when a respected veteran like Smoove levies harsh criticisms at 2K, it carries weight with much of the hardcore fanbase.
Many fans credit Smoove for first exposing them to NBA 2K years ago. So they continue tuning in each year to hear his take as both a top player and critic. His recent video slamming NBA 2K24’s monetization as a “scam” has quickly gained traction for these reasons.
Is Smoove Right to Call Out 2k?
While Smoove’s criticisms may seem exaggerated, he makes fair points about 2k straying further down an unethical path. Longtime fans feel nickel-and-dimed as basic features become monetized. Stripping away skill-based prestige items like Level 40 for pure revenue is a concerning sign of the times.
However, as the dominant NBA title, 2k holds a monopoly. Criticism alone may not motivate change without legal action. But shining a spotlight on the issue creates pressure. If profits and reputation take a hit, 2k could reassess its monetization strategy. For now, outraged players may have to vote with their wallets. But Smoove’s stand against unethical business practices is an important one.