NBA 2K20’s new trailer feels like a Las Vegas casino ad

NBA 2K games are huge cash crops for Take-Two. … then upgrade the players via card packs, or paying money directly for the Virtual Currency itself.

NBA 2K20’s newest trailer is filled with lottery-style gambling-esque mechanics, including random card packs straight out of Magic: The Gathering, spin wheels, and even slot machines.

NBA 2K games are huge cash crops for Take-Two. Last quarter, NBA 2K19 became its best-selling sports franchise of all time and helped rake in $313 million from microtransactions. NBA 2K’s MyTeam mode, which is a lot like FIFA Ultimate Team, is the main driver for this success.

Today 2K dropped a new trailer for NBA 2K20’s MyTeam that perfectly illustrates its lootbox-style monetization. It exposes very luck-based mechanics that’re reminiscent of a casino, with star NBA players to illustrate just how big you can win from its Triple Threat slot machines, card packs, and a new spin wheel straight out of a game show. The game’s engagement hinges on allowing users to build a fantasy dream team of players, but it comes at a cost: either grinding for in-game currency to unlock and then upgrade the players via card packs, or paying money directly for the Virtual Currency itself. There’s apparently lots more opportunities to win and earn VC this time around, though.

NBA 2K’s monetization has been strongly criticized in the past and remains one of the biggest examples of lootbox-style microtransactions.

Thanks to pressure from Washington and other worldwide governments, most publishers have distanced themselves from these revenue-generating mechanics and switched over to cosmetic-only mTX, but annualized sports franchises are the exception (most notably are EA’s billion-dollar Madden and FIFA games).

However, Take-Two has pledged to reveal odds of its lootboxe unlockables by 2020 alongside other major players like Activision-Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

We should expect to see these kinds of games push the bar for as long as they can.

NBA 2K20 releases on September 6, 2019 on PS4, Xbox One and Steam.

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Madden’s secret, best single-player mode is Ultimate Team

… offer 18 challenges against an opposing team led by a top-of-his game superstar, and gameplay always pays out Madden’s free virtual currency.

There’s a great single-player mode in Madden NFL 20, it’s just not the one I was expecting.

It’s Madden Ultimate Team, and before you ask, I haven’t spent a cent in it, either. My Ultimate Team may still only be rated in the upper 70s, but I have a cast of interesting players and a connection to them that’s much stronger than being their virtual teammate or coach in the game’s traditional Franchise suite.

I’m not spending any money because this year, there’s simply a lot for me to do with this team without getting into the arms race of competitive human-vs-human play, and the grind against zero-sum, full-game, win-or-lose outcomes that represents. Jake Stein, an eight-year veteran of EA Tiburon’s development team, says designers have been giving solo players more attention, year-to-year, responding to the data they see in how people play their mode and what causes them to leave it. The result is a meatier mode than I’ve given it credit for over the past 10 years.

“I’m not sure of what the outside perception would be, but a majority of our players are more single-player experience players, versus people who want to go jump into online games,” Stein said. He works on MUT’s live content team — the folks responsible for the new 10-year anniversary challenge series that has me trying to stop the immortal Bo Jackson before I get a new superstar opponent this Tuesday.

That silent majority of single-player MUT gamers have, like me, really seen the game open up to them this year through the mode’s Missions, which are collections of the single-player challenges that Ultimate Team has been tossing at players since 2012. These missions are more of an improvement roadmap, and indeed that’s how I started, figuring that I would build up a respectable team for online play with them. But after about 15 hours, the solo play just became the whole point of the mode for me.

This year, Ultimate Team sports two very long-playing series of solo challenges that’ll award an 86-rated player upon completion. Sitting in my menu is another two missions of 16 games each, based on the schedules of the Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis Colts. They’ll award an 86-rated player from each team on completion. I still have a long way to go with them.

Then there’s “Theme Diamonds,” which doesn’t land me any superstar loot but it does offer 18 challenges against an opposing team led by a top-of-his game superstar, and gameplay always pays out Madden’s free virtual currency. In these, like all the others, I can choose a difficulty setting and complete bonus objectives to earn anywhere from one to five stars, and there are player and pack awards at certain star milestones.

“This year, we made a change to make it more open,” said J.P. Kellams, a features producer for Ultimate Team who joined EA Sports in 2017 after a decade at PlatinumGames. That comes mainly in the form of a one-to-five star challenges system, which allows players to choose their difficulty and complete bonus objectives. For me, it’s the difference between simply passing a defensive challenge (my weakest area) or dominating a running challenge with Jim Brown, a freebie player Twitch gave out shortly after the game’s launch. Either way, I still pass it, get that check-in-the-box sense of fulfillment, and move on to the next one.

“Switching to a non-linear [progression], being able to select your difficulty and decide ghow hard you want to go, and both see your own skill in the game progress, but also your team progress, was all kind of a holistic approach to you getting better in the game,” Kellams said.

“We have made a design choice that we don’t care, necessarily, about the order in which you play the content,” Stein added. “The best reward is no longer gated by the 100th challenge of 100 total available challenges.”

Furthermore, Stein says the switch to the star system for each challenge, as opposed to the pass-fail grading of years past, seems to keep the single-player minded in the mode longer. This may be what I was responding to, without really knowing it. Before I would run through Ultimate Team’s onboarding challenges until I got to the one that I couldn’t complete and didn’t care about completing, then I’d go back to Franchise. Stein says I wasn’t the only one playing this way, by far.

“When we take a look at previous iterations of Madden Ultimate Team, we would see cases where as soon as we built in a challenge that was too difficult for players to surpass, it was just a huge cliff,” Stein said. “There was no way for them to continue progressing; they just felt defeated.”


Screenshot of Madden NFL 20, in which Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is stiff-arming a defender for the Indianapolis Colts.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is another star who joins everyone’s team early. Single-player challenges also don’t knock any games off his contract (the amount of time you get with him before losing him.)
EA Tiburon/Electronic Arts

Whatever it is that made Ultimate Team connect with me this year, it came at a good time. Though Franchise is still principally my mode of play, longtime players have figured out that that its staple activities really haven’t changed that much. For team management, Ultimate Team provides more variety, with Franchise largely leaning on the same systems it has over the years. Madden is hardly the only sports video game butting up against the diminishing returns of a 20-year-old core mode of play where nearly everything has been tried. Though it’ll still face the same questions with Franchise next year (and every year after) broadening the single-player opportunities in Ultimate Team is one way to keep Madden as a whole fresh.

“One of the things that I really like about what what we’ve built is my ability to sit on the couch and kind of zone out for an hour or two, and play bite-sized football experiences,” said Kellams, speaking for me as well. “I’m a big fan of games where I would just sit down and play the same challenge over and over until I got the highest star rating. I do the same thing in Forza Motorsport. When we were setting up what was important to us around Ultimate Team challenges this year, that was the one thing that I was insistent on: ‘I want to be able to sit on my couch and just grind that until I get the best possible rating.’”

Stein, who is more of a hardcore Madden player (indeed, he played his way into a job with EA Sports from its Game Changers program) sees another connection between Ultimate Team and single-player modes.

“I had this epiphany the year we put MUT Squads in [in 2017],” Stein said, referring to the mode where players join up cooperatively, each handling a different skill position on the field. “I never knew it, but I was always playing MUT Squads in older versions of Madden. I would go into Franchise, I would do a fantasy draft, then I’d go to my friend’s house and we’d put our controllers on the same side of the team select screen and play versus the CPU. I had no idea at the time, but I was actually playing Madden Ultimate Team.”

Roster File is Polygon’s news and opinion column on sports and video games.

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Skyrim on Blockchain? Here is The Six Dragons!

TSD is developed by Enjin coin’s SDK and will feature up to 600 blockchain game assets. They had their presale in May this year and raised over …

Skyrim is one of the top contenders of being the best RPG ever made. It has over 10million players and sold over 22million copies of the game to date. With 37.2km² of open-world land, it takes approximately 400-500 hours of gameplay in order to finish Skyrim.

The Six Dragons(TSD) has come in to challenge the adventures Skyrim has to offer. Having a 64km² of open-world space with one billion dungeons, I’m sure this will set many adventurous spirits tingling already.

TSD is developed by Enjin coin’s SDK and will feature up to 600 blockchain game assets. They had their presale in May this year and raised over $90,000 in under 24 hours. A total of 150,000 Enj was used to back presales items which included a variety of weapons armours and many other amazing items. A Dragon’s sword backed by 10,000 Enj was scooped up by one fortunate presale buyer.

The Six Dragons is one of the most anticipated blockchain games and showcases lots of amazing features. There will be tons of blockchain assets to be looted in-game. The game has a unique and updated crafting and enchanting system that players will definitely have fun trying out.

Crafting & Enchanting

Crafting will require players to have a recipe and the required materials in their Enjin wallet. Essences will be used to craft weapons while matters will be used to craft armours. Combined with other materials that can be found in-game, they can be used to complete the recipe for crafting.

Enchanting scrolls are also split according to weapon and armour as well. However, for both crafting and enchanting, players will be able to carry out those actions even for items that are higher level than their character.

Another plus side of these features is that recipes, materials and scrolls are all blockchain assets which can be stored in your Enjin wallet. This gives players more versatility onto what kind of role they want to play in-game.

Players who don’t like grinding levels can opt to be a crafter or merchant as materials can be easily purchased on marketplaces. Moreover, recipes will be reusable so players will be able to craft unlimited times if they have the necessary materials. If they want to value add to their service, they can also use some enchanting scrolls on their crafted items to sell them for higher prices.

AI companions

Some players prefer to roam the lands solo and not to interact with other players. This can put them at a disadvantage in some games where a party is required to enter a certain dungeon or complete a mission. However, in The Six Dragons, they have provided an AI companion feature to aid players in filling a party.

So no matter if you are going solo or have friends along with you, you can be sure your adventure doesn’t stop!

Item in-game

People might be wondering about the supply for items since most of it will be blockchain assets. In order to combat this, items will be melted or minted regularly according to the current player base. This will allow the rarity of items to withhold their value and also allow for balances within the game.

There are some items such as recipes which has limits on the total supply. This will give them an increased value as the player base grows.

Gameplay

Enough of the details for now, take a look are some of the gameplay The Six Dragon has to offer!

Excited yet? Read on to find out how you can have early access!

Alpha

The question now is will you be able to play the game soon? The answer is yes! Information for Alpha has been released but will only be available in 5 waves. It will be opened mainly to presale contributors, media partners and community members.

However, having a Six Dragons founder token will grant user access to alpha too! The Six Dragons founder tokens can be bought on trading channels and open markets. If not, players will have to wait for Q4 for the full release but I assure you it will be very well worth the wait.

Early access players will be able to link their Enjin wallet in-game and use their blockchain asset in their wallets too. This means early adopters will be the first to try their hands on crafting to create their very own Early Adopter items.

Conclusion

The Six Dragons has huge potential to become a top MMORPG and also lead the charge for blockchain gaming. Its presale has already said a lot on the confidence its supporters have for the game. There is a lot to expect and lots of adventure awaiting players. The crafting system is a definite eye-opener and an awesome way for players to earn money. With the great updates and progress shown so far, this game should definitely be on anyone’s blockchain gaming list!

The Six Dragons

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Star Wars Battlefront 2 Lives Up to Franchise’s Legacy – DICE

Villains this August. Capital Supremacy will see some changes and each faction will have new Droids. If that wasn’t enough, a four-player co-op PvE …

star wars battlefront 2

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (that too, one without WiFi), DICE’s Star Wars Battlefront 2 didn’t have the smoothest launch. Plagued with pay-to-win microtransactions which resulted in overwhelming backlash, the development team spent a while retooling and revamping the title. Almost two years later, DICE still thinks about how things could’ve gone differently at launch.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, design director Dennis Brannvall says, “Not a week goes by without us thinking, ‘Imagine if we hadn’t launched with loot boxes the way we did.’ We would have been a different place, that’s for sure, because we truly believe the game is a worthy sequel to Battlefront 1 and lives up to the legacy of the Battlefront franchise.”

Brannvall compared the process of revamping the game to Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege when it initially launched. “We really needed to take a step back and do some house cleaning — not completely dissimilar to Rainbow Six Siege. They didn’t launch the way they wanted, but now it’s doing well and I think we’re on a similar trajectory.”

New content is also still being provided for free. During Gamescom, the developer confirmed that the Separatist Dreadnought and Republic Venator would be playable in Heroes vs. Villains this August. Capital Supremacy will see some changes and each faction will have new Droids. If that wasn’t enough, a four-player co-op PvE mode where players can choose the Galactic Republic or the Separatist Alliance will be available in September. Instant Action will also be returning to the franchise next month, allowing solo players to fight alongside AI teams in massive conflicts.


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Free NBA 2K20 Demo Out Now

… assemble your team and take part in tournament-style matches against other players in various formats, as well as collect and use Virtual Currency.

Visual Concepts and 2K Sports have launched the free NBA 2K20 demo for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One users, giving players a chance to sample the upcoming basketball title ahead of its launch in early September. The demo gives you the opportunity to get a head start on your MyCAREER by test driving the MyPLAYER builder.

NBA 2K20 Demo

In addition to the playable demo, players can also sample the MyNBA2K20 app, allowing you to use scaring feature to upload your likeness into NBA 2K20. All your MyPLAYER configurations will be carried over to the full version of NBA 2K20 for launch, so keep that in mind.

NBA 2K20 is scheduled to ship for PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One on September 6. The game is the 21st entry in the venerable sports franchise, and features Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis on the cover of the standard edition, and Dwayne Wade, formerly of Miami Heat, gracing the cover of the Legend Edition.

The game features the current season’s teams and players, as well as adding six more teams from past eras, and for the first time in the franchise includes all 12 teams from the WNBA.

Meanwhile, MyCareer makes a return, allowing players to customise their own basketball player and rise through the ranks of your career. It also includes a storyline that sees your character compete in matches on the court as well as various activities outside of matches.

The MyTeam mode is also featured, which is based around the idea of building a basketball team and maintaining a virtual trading card collection. Here, you’ll assemble your team and take part in tournament-style matches against other players in various formats, as well as collect and use Virtual Currency.

Stay tuned to PSU.com for more details on NBA 2K20 as we get them.

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