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NBA 2K19 is shoving adverts into paying players' faces

Published: 13:13, 25 June 2019
Updated: 13:41, 25 June 2019
2K Sports
Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers shooting a half-court shot in NBA 2K19.
NBA 2K19 - Damian Lillard shooting a half-court shot.

2K fell under scrutiny for aggressive monetisation several times in the past and they seem to have no intent of stopping it. Their latest escapade is an attempt to push adverts during loading screens in NBA 2K19 that can't even be skipped.

Adverts during NBA 2K19 loading screens may not sound that terrible on the surface but there are three things that make them qualify for malicious monetisation of the year candidates.

First up, this is a fully priced AAA game that is a part of annual series so 2K pockets $60 each year, just like Activision does with Call of Duty. It appears that this glorified subscription, loot boxes and the rest of microtransaction peddling is not enough though, so why not slap some ads without the ability to skip them?

The second reason why the ads are even worse than they sound is that it's not just the loading time that prevents you from skipping them. You can see in the video above that the loading time was done before the advert concluded but the player was still not able to skip it. The loading finishes at 0:30 timestamp while the ad goes on for another five seconds, essentially translating into a prolonged loading screen with adverts players didn't ask for.

As for the third reason, it's what 2K are advertising. NBA 2K19 is rated E for everyone so even children are free to access all of its features. The show in question is Snowfall which dabbles in issues with crack cocaine epidemic that was highly present during the '80s.

Needless to say, by no means could it be rated E for everyone and neither should NBA 2K19 be if it's going to advertise such content.

2K Sports The prize wheel in NBA 2K19 NBA 2K19: Prize wheel

Technically, ESRB rating doesn't apply to TV shows so this is possibly the loophole 2K are aiming for. Still, their own software evidently advertises content with mature themes which is obviously available to children and cannot be skipped.

Maybe monetising children through gambling didn't impress Strauss Zelnick so 2K added forced ads to properly monetise it on a per-user basis .

The only way to avoid these ads is to entirely disable 2KTV in the game options so players will not see any of it, including the ads. As you may have guessed it, the option is enabled by default so each player has to manually turn it off in order not to see the adverts.

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