2K Games have inserted unskippable adverts into loading screen sequences in its basketball title NBA 2K21. A decision that has not gone down well with many players. With some complaining that as a full-priced title they shouldn’t be advertised to within it.
The adverts are part of a presentation that is supposed to mimic a TV-like section, so they don’t feel wholly out of place, and they don’t seem to increase the load times, instead playing within the loading time of the next game. They were originally spotted by Stevivor.
Many have pointed out that the move comes just weeks after release of the game, when reviews have been written and the majority of players felt that they knew what they were buying. Other arguments aside, we can’t help but feel the timing is poor on 2K’s part.
Of course, the biggest pressure is now likely to come from Facebook/Oculus, who seems to be the sole advertiser in the segment presently. And who is unlikely to want its spots to be associated with such an unpopular placement.
On a more positive note, 2K has put up billboards around the game’s virtual Neighbourhood area simply calling for players to ‘VOTE’.
This isn’t the first time that such adverts have appeared in games of late. EA recently did a u-turn on similar adverts in its UFC 4. With a developer taking to Reddit to comment on the situation.
“It is abundantly clear from your feedback that integrating ads into the Replay and overlay experience is not welcome. The advertisements have been disabled by the team and we apologize for any disruption to gameplay that players may have experienced. We realize that this should have been communicated with players ahead of time and that’s on us.”
The placement of adverts in sports games isn’t usually a contentious issue, with well-chosen and positioned adverts providing additional realism to the experience, which is hard to maintain with fake products. However, how those adverts are presented is an issue for some players, and it looks like adverts placed within the world, such as billboards, are more acceptable than those placed in interstitial segments.