2K Apologizes, Sort Of, For NBA 2K21's In-Game Commercials

The publisher said the advertisements were not playing in the correct spot, but it didn't say they would be removed.

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A recent NBA 2K21 update added an unwanted feature to the game--unskippable ads for the Oculus Quest 2--placing them on loading screens as players waited for matches to begin. Many saw this as a greedy move on publisher 2K Games' part, but the company has offered an apology.

In a post on the official NBA2K Twitter account, the company said it has put advertisements into its 2KTV segments before, but they weren't intended to be part of the pre-game introduction. That will be fixed with newer episodes and it should make them less invasive.

As you can see if you check the replies from players, the apology wasn't universally accepted. The series has worked microtransactions pretty deep into the game's systems over the last generation, as well. Advertisements on TV have even looked like virtual casinos on occasion. It isn't the only sports series doing it, of course, with EA including similar loot boxes in series like Madden and FIFA. However, it's arguably the most invasive with them.

NBA 2K20 also had unskippable ads, and they've since appeared in other games. EA's UFC 4 similarly added--and then soon removed--unskippable ads between rounds.

2K Games didn't commit to removing any ads altogether, and it's admittedly a little odd to see a commercial for a device telling you it can replace your traditional console while you're playing the traditional console. There is no version of NBA 2K21 available on Oculus Quest, though a VR experience was released for Rift back in 2016.

2K Games has found itself as the target of criticism as we approach the launch of the Xbox Series X and Series S as well as the PS5. The company is selling the upcoming next-gen version of NBA 2K21 for $70 without an upgrade path--free or paid--unless you purchase the most-expensive collector's edition. Other publishers like Ubisoft are offering next-gen upgrades for free, while Activision is selling a $70 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War that includes the current-gen and next-gen game.

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