It’s undeniable that ads and sports video games go together like bread and butter. We’ve all accepted that it is impossible to play an annual franchise without being bombarded by every brand under the sun. One could even argue that advertisements in sports video games are inserted in the name of immersion, since their obsessive plastering rivals that of a real game on television. However, 2K Sports has now taken its strategy of hyper-capitalism one step further and rolled out unskippable ads in NBA 2K20.
Reddit user Boostermiester has posted a screenshot of an advertisement for Converse shoes in 2K20 that is noticeably lacking a button to skip the ad and start the game. This would make sense if the game was still loading. However, the screen itself states that the game is fully loaded.
NBA 2K20 is no stranger to backlash. It has been met with much criticism for its excessive microtransactions and gambling mechanics. In addition, server issues plagued the game since launch and notable improvements over the previous game in the series are minimal. Load times have been reported as even longer than in 2K19, which may have something to do with the new ad algorithm 2K Sports has in place.
Since advertisements make a lot of money in the sports industry, it’s only natural that 2K Games would want to capitalize on them in every possible way. NBA 2K20 was not only the best-selling game in the United States for the month of September, but it’s also the best-selling game in all of 2019 thus far, as NBA 2K is now the 6th best-selling video game franchise in history.
For the time being, it appears you can disable the unskippable ads by turning off 2KTV in the main menu settings. 2KTV is an in-game broadcast program that launched in 2014 with NBA 2K15. It allows various real-world content to be interjected into the game, such as interviews and community news. This option to turn off 2KTV makes the most sense once the season is over, as you won’t have immediate access to real-world happenings during your gameplay. However, since the season just started, it seems like a less than ideal solution to a problem that maybe shouldn’t be in a full-priced video game to begin with.
How do you feel about unskippable advertisements in NBA 2K20? Since you can’t skip through commercials on television, do they make the gaming experience more immersive or are they just another hindrance? Feel free to share your thoughts down in the comments below.