Gaming Hardware

Unskippable Ads in 2K’s NBA 2K21 Reveal a New Level of Bad Practice

2K has added unskippable advertisements to NBA 2K21 after the game’s release. Here’s why gamers should be worried about this new monetization tactic.

In a stark display of questionable company practice from within the gaming industry, publisher 2K introduced unskippable advertisements into the recently released NBA 2K21. However, despite the company’s best efforts to do so quietly, the internet was quick to catch on and spread the word of this development. For fans of the NBA 2K series, this comes as another blow to their crumbling confidence in 2K and the mounting despair they feel at the path the games are going down.

Advertisements have become a part of most aspects of our lives, especially in the gaming industry, as many free mobile games contain advertisements that provide rewards when watched. There’s also eSports, where the currently ongoing League of Legends World Championship has ad-placements in almost every conceivable area of the viewing experience. But while this may not be a shock, there are some good reasons for gamers to be concerned about 2K’s decision in particular.

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First, NBA 2K21 is already a full-priced game that costs $60 to buy and contains extensive microtransaction and gambling systems as well. This suggests that NBA 2K is being squeezed for the most amount of money possible, meaning the priority is not on providing a good gaming experience, but to profit. It isn’t hard to see this leading to 2K cutting corners when it comes to development, ultimately spending less time on important aspects of the game like narrative, graphical and technical quality in favor of predatory monetization models.

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Second, these unskippable advertisements were added a few weeks after the game’s release, which is likely a ploy to avoid any critics picking up on this shady business practice and mentioning it in their reviews. Companies being able to drastically alter their game’s quality after the initial reviews go up leads to a slippery slope; they could lock previously available features behind paywalls, remove certain free customization options in place of microtransactions or instate other tactics to increase a game’s profit.

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