NBA 2K21 Adds Unskippable Ads Despite Being A Full-Price Game

Players are seeing ads for the Oculus Quest 2 in-game, and they can't be skipped.


[Update: 2K Games has issued an apology for how advertisements were implemented into the game. It will not be removing them, but they won't be shown so prominently within the 2KTV segments.]

NBA 2K21 has added a new feature--video ads that cannot be skipped. Stevivor reports that the game now features ads that will play between matches, and which you cannot skip through. These ads are for the Oculus Quest 2, and they've been spotted in the PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions of the game.

This is a tactic we're used to seeing in free-to-play titles, but NBA 2K21 is a full-priced title--and depending on which version you bought, it can cost up to $100.

Here's a video recorded by Stevivor of one of the ads playing in the game's MyTeam mode, which has now entered Season 2.

2K has tellingly added these ads well after reviews of the game has hit, which were already scored lower than previous entries in the series--GameSpot gave NBA 2K21 a 6/10. They also come weeks after players may have committed to purchasing the game.

The NBA 2K series has already received criticism for its focus on monetization and microtransactions beyond the initial cost of the game--these ads will likely make things worse for the series' reputation. EA's UFC 4 similarly added--and then soon removed--unskippable ads between rounds.

It remains to be seen whether 2K will keep these ads in the game long-term, or whether it will cycle between different products over time. We also don't know if they'll be present in the more-expensive PS5 and Xbox Series X/Series S versions of the game, which may feature shorter load times in which to insert such ads. We've reached out to 2K for further details and will report back with anything we learn.

Previous games, including NBA 2K20, have also featured in-game ads, and they too were met with a great deal of frustration from fans. Notably, the franchise features no real competition, with EA's NBA Live series having gone away years ago. That's left the 2K series as the only viable option for fans looking to pick up a new simulation-style basketball game, a point referenced by Reddit user RiddleGaming 21.

"I truly don't know what to do or say anymore. A monopoly for a single genre of video games, basketball," they wrote. "Honestly, I don't even think there is a way to make me want to play anymore and that truly upsets and disappoints me."

NBA 2K21 is coming to both next-gen systems at launch with numerous improvements. That version will cost $70.

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