The 2K series of sports games have historically been mired in controversy due to their implementation of in-game ads. A number of the publisher’s sports titles have seen in-game ads included in a variety of ways, from banners in the background of matches, to full screen ads. In some of these instances, the backlash from fans pressured the publisher to reverse the additions. Now however, the ads are back, this time in NBA 2K21.
As reported by Stevivor, one month after the launch of the game, 2K has added full-screen, unskippable ads into the pre-game loading screen for NBA 2K21. The ad in question witnessed by Stevivor was for the recently released Oculus Quest 2, and interrupts the background music playing, to display a nearly full screen advert.
While Stevivor notes that the ad itself does not extend beyond the loading time required for the game itself to begin, this could in theory be easily manipulated to make the loading appear to be longer than necessary. This will be interesting to test, especially following the release of the PlayStation 5, which reportedly loads the game in 2 seconds.
Regardless of how long it takes to load the game, full-screen unskippable ads in a game which costs $60 ($70 for the next-gen version) is hard to justify in any context. Furthermore, 2K waited until a month after launch to introduce these ads, perhaps as a way to circumvent the loss of launch sales brought about by negative press and impacted reviews.
However you slice it, this recent move by 2K is a negative one, and serves to only benefit 2K. Hopefully this decision by the publisher will be quickly reversed.
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KitGuru says: What do you think of the ads? Are they intrusive? Should they reverse this decision? Let us know down below.