Every year we seem to have the same discussion about the NBA 2K franchise and its heavy reliance on brand partners, in-game advertisements, and microtransactions. The game has become the center of the microtransaction debate as, while it’s far from the only game to have them, few are as prevalent as 2K — or are the microtransactions as impactful on gameplay and your ability to perform in the game.
There’s plenty to enjoy about the game and they’ve created a massive community that seems more than happy to overlook the fact that the game regularly asks you to sink more and more money into it, but the latest development in their commitment to brand partnerships might test the limits of that. NBA 2K21 has begun putting in unskippable ads into the load screens prior to 2K TV, as they don’t even allow you to edit your lineups while they play, as shown by this recording from Stevivor.
This has begun popping up on Xbox One, PS4, and PC and has gamers worried that the game is once again pushing the boundaries of inserting more and more monetization opportunities at the expense of the playing experience. EA Sports has tried something similar in the past with UFC 4 having ads that played, but fan backlash caused them to quickly backtrack and remove them. We’ll see if the 2K community has a similar response to these new ads prior to 2K TV.
What will be most interesting is whether they try similar things with their next-gen edition, which retails for $70 and the next-gen consoles promise to all but eliminate load times. That would make the addition of ads even more intrusive and obstruct from the gameplay experience, so we’ll see come November if that’s in the cards or not on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.