With gaming on consoles, PCs, and even mobile becoming an even more lucrative industry, it’s really no surprise that brands see it as the next fertile land for advertising revenue. Some might have even come to accept that as a sad fact of life, just like web ads, especially on free to play titles. But when you’re paying dozens of dollars, the last thing you want is to be interrupted by an ad you can’t escape from. That’s the surprising situation NBA 2K21 players found themselves in and, according to the game’s publisher, it was simply an honest error.
While some players insist they have not seen a single video ad, others have complained about being forced to sit through an advertisement for the Oculus Quest 2, of all things, before a game starts. Although already a bit distasteful, the offense was made worse by the fact that there was absolutely no way to skip it and jump directly into the game.
This kind of behavior is prevalent in freemium games where it is disliked but at least tolerated, justified by providing revenue for a free title. NBA 2K21, however, costs $60, which isn’t cheap even for a game. It’s definitely understandable that gamers are up in arms about it.
The official explanation, however, is that it was unintentional. The ads were integrated into the game’s 2KTV segment but weren’t meant to show up on pre-game loading screen. 2K games the issue has been fixed in future episodes. It also thanks gamers for the feedback but stops short of actually apologizing for the incident.
This would have probably been written off as a simple blunder had it been an isolated incident. Two years ago, however, the company similarly added unskippable ads in NBA 2K19. It isn’t even alone in this kind of “mistakes” as EA Games pulled something similar in UFC 4 just last month.