2K Sports' flagship basketball sim franchise is renowned for its flagrant use of microtransactions and gambling-esque mechanics, but NBA 2K20 could be the straw that broke the camel's back. While the latest entry is looking to up the ante in all areas, from character creation all the way through to Hollywood cameos, a recent trailer for MyTeam has been pulled from the series' official channel after attracting over 16,000 dislikes.
The reason? Well, frankly it looks like a casino game. Depicted in the video are slot machines, Wheel of Fortune-style games of chance, and plenty of fist-pumping as rare cards are pulled from loot box-ish packs. It's a tone-deaf trailer that deserves the level of criticism it's attracted -- especially when you consider the wider context of the microtransaction conversation that's been going on elsewhere in the industry of late.
In fact, the backlash has been so bad that it's prompted European ratings board PEGI to comment on the situation, considering the title has a family friendly age rating of 3+, which many feel is inappropriate given the content of the release. "A video game gets the gambling content descriptor if it contains moving images that encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling," the group explained.
In other words: the minigames in NBA 2K20 don't necessarily resemble real-world gambling, therefore they are fair game. It's an explanation that PEGI itself appears to recognise as a cop out, as it continued that it's conducting an internal review on its policies: "We are very aware that it may get too close for comfort for some people, and that is part of an internal discussion that PEGI is having for the moment. The games industry is evolving constantly. As a rating organisation, we need to ensure that these developments are reflected in our classification criteria."
It's unlikely this will affect NBA 2K20 in the short-term, but who knows what the future holds? For now, we think it's fair to say that whoever cut a trailer glamourising gambling mechanics and loot boxes at a time when government intervention is seemingly right around the corner must have been out of their mind.
Pokemon red and blue on the 3ds virtual console got a pegi 12+ rating with the reason being the game corner’s real depiction of slot gambling and the dangers of it learning kids about gambling...
PEGI is a joke!
I'm worried if they will pull this stunt with their WWE games now that everything is going to be done in house.
This direction of travel is the natural climax of the microtransaction boom we have all been witness to this generation.
I think I can speak for everyone here when I say enough is enough.
I got NBA 2K20 in my random controversy-generator loot box the other day.
What do I win?
"A video game gets the gambling content descriptor if it contains moving images that encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling,"
"In other words: the minigames in NBA 2K20 don't necessarily resemble real-world gambling"
What do you mean it doesn't represent real world gambling? It's a slot machine, slots machines are used in the real world to gamble. It's a moving image representing a slot machine and by your own definition that falls under the category of a gambling descriptor.
Seriously, what is wrong with you people?
Scratch that, we all know it's money being passed under the table which clearly indicates the irrelavancy if your organisation if you are failing to do your job.
The arrogance to put out that video and think it wouldn’t cause this or worse press is amazing. Any idiot would have known that imagery is what you wanna avoid with your game....
@Stocksy ...or perhaps they knew exactly what they were doing, because I sure as heck wasn't even thinking about NBA 2K20 until I saw this, and now I've commented on the story twice.
Sales aren't everything nowadays. Clicks, social media profile and trending hashtags are vital, positive or otherwise.
@RogerRoger I'd guess that these games make more money from a smaller group of dedicated MTX-addicted peoples than if they ditched the MTX and sold more games as a result.
@nessisonett Likely true, good point.
I once stumbled across a half-hour video of a gamer reacting to opening FUT card packs. It was a week old and had already reached some ten million views.
Games aren't made for us regular folk any more.
@GADG3Tx87 The answer doesn't really make sense, but I think PEGI's view is that the game doesn't actually show someone using a slot machine, therefore it's not promoting real-world gambling or something.
It's a terrible explanation.
Ah! Thanks I was rereading that and scratching my head, it makes sense (as an incredibly obtuse technicality) now!
Wow! What a spin! Hahahaha
@RogerRoger I might just pop into the local Ladbrokes and film 50 year old men drinking pints of Bovril and putting a few quid on the horses. That's the same concept, right?
This is going to be the new norm, sadly. These companies know they can get away with it because the ESRB and PEGI boards simply don't care, and won't update their rating systems.
Let's be honest PEGI is a joke.
Disgusting, I hope goverment around the world will investigate this and ban or regulate gambling in games. Goverments really need to update the definition of gambling, it’s absurd games company can run around gambling regulation with ease.
Just watched Angry Joe's video on YouTube about this and was shocked really. Feel sorry for people(mainly Kids) who will get addicted to this type of EVIL stuff in GAMES!?!? :-/ This company(and all the other game makers) should be ashamed of themselves.
Should be fine - Its just a Surprise Mechanic!!!
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