Microtransactions haven’t been an alien concept for the past decade in the gaming scene. While cosmetics aren’t too big of a problem, unfair advantages in a competitive game can create a divide in the community.

The NBA 2K series did have microtransactions, but something big has changed this year with the new installment of NBA 2K23.

NBA 2K23 Pay-to-Win: Yay or Nay?

Yes, NBA 2K23 is Pay-to-Win. But, in hindsight, NBA 2K has always been Pay-to-Win. You could always buy a bunch of VC and max out your players without having to play through the game’s grind. 

The only difference now is the price you have to pay for the same privilege. What do we mean? Let’s start by comparing NBA 2K23 with its previous iterations.

For instance, let’s go back to NBA 2K22. The game starts you off with a rating of 60 overall. At this point in the game, nobody will want to play MyCareer online modes with you. To level up and compete with everyone, you can do one of two things:

  • Grind for 40 hours in MyCareer mode (15 minutes per game) and earn 200,000 VC.
  • OR, pay 50 Euros for an instant boost to 85 overall rating.

To summarize NBA 2K, you will have to pay to compete faster. Otherwise, you can spend half a year grinding through the game, which is time that most people do not have.

Coming back to NBA 2K23, what’s different? The PRICES.

The VC Prices in NBA 2K23: What Happened?

Compared to last year’s prices, the amount of money you’ll be spending on VC in NBA 2K23 has nearly doubled!

If you wanted to get 99 overall in NBA 2K23, it would cost you 457,000 VC in total, running you for about 175 USD. The same rating in 2K22 would have cost you only 370,000 VC and 100 USD.

Why Does VC Even Matter?

Prior to the game’s release, it was speculated that the price for VC would remain the same. With this recent development, you will be spending twice the money to be able to enjoy the game. You will have to spend $90 after playing the game to get your player to be anywhere near competitive (realistically, you will have to spend a little more).

There are rudimentary rules in NBA 2K’s matchmaking system. In the previous games, if you didn’t have the right overall rating, good cosmetics (for some reason), and generally haven’t reached the end-game (which takes a lot of time, by the way, if you’re grinding), you would not be able to find any matches.

This always forced players that really liked the game to invest as much money as possible to be able to play online in a more competitive setting.


2K has unintentionally placed a barrier between its community. The affordability of the game is now simply out the window. Before, people would actually consider paying for the upgrades to avoid going through an unnecessarily tedious process. Now, many people are alienated from buying anything in the game due to the price hike. 

We bet you have several questions running through your mind. Let’s try and answer all of them. Will 2K try to fix the price of microtransactions? Probably not. Is NBA 2K22 pay-to-win? It always has been. Is it even more pay-to-win now? For sure.

So, if you’re a seasoned player and can afford your way through the early game, go ahead! But there definitely has been a steep change in the game’s freemium economy that has left disappointment in a major portion of the community.

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