NBA 2K21 adds unskippable ads to the game and fans aren’t happy

Jonathan Lee
·2-min read

A new change to NBA 2K21 has some fans calling foul.

NBA 2K21 now has ads running during its pre-game loading screens (thanks, Stevivor). These ads, which have been added a month after the game’s release, cannot be skipped and even prevent players from editing their lineups before the match.

The controversial change has been met with a flurry of criticism on Reddit.

“Imagine paying for a full priced game which already has a tonne of real-world ads in it and then being blasted with additional ads,” A Redditor said. “I’m just interested in what the breaking point for a sports game fan is.”

“This capitalism stuff is really fun,” Another Redditor said. “We get the same game every year just with more and more advertisements and microtransactions. Talk about innovation!”

Nickel-and-diming consumers is a sadly recurrent theme in sports games. The NBA 2K series is the premier basketball franchise in video games, a dominance that has given 2K Games a de facto monopoly over basketball games in general. Critics of the company have said this is the reason why NBA 2K has seen little change over the years — with no competition, there’s no pressure for 2K Games to improve the product.

Just a few months ago, 2K Games was embroiled in another controversy when it announced that NBA 2K21 would cost $70 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, a $10 hike from the current industry standard of $60 for a video game.

All these factors combined make NBA 2K21’s new ad campaign particularly egregious. 

“Reminder: As consumers, we have the choice to vote with our wallets,” One Redditor said in a call to action. “Please don’t buy these POS games every year!”

If you enjoyed this story, check out In The Know’s story on NBA 2K League, the game’s official esports league.

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