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NBA 2K21 now includes ads, despite being a full-price game

NBA 2K21
(Image credit: 2K)

Update: 2K Games has addressed fans concerned about NBA 2K21's unskippable ads via its official Twitter account. In the statement below, the publisher noted that ads have been integrated into 2KTV segments in recent years, but that these particular ads have impacted players' experience in a way which it didn't intend. This problem will apparently be fixed in future episodes. You can read the full statement below.

It looks like NBA 2K21 has added ads during pre-game loading screens that can't be skipped, despite being a full-price game.

The popular basketball sim now forces players to watch ads during a pre-game video called “MyTEAM Season 2, Episode 7”. The ad, captured by Stevivor, is found in both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$99.95 game, and promotes the new Oculus Quest 2.

While the experience is certainly more akin to watching basketball on TV – though arguably the worst part – including video ads in anything but a free-to-play game is controversial. Most would concede that paying full price for a game is the norm, but having to sit through adverts is simply not an acceptable part of the deal. 

When you consider that NBA 2K21 has come under fire for its over reliance on microtransactions, too, the decision to add in adverts seems all the more egregious.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen this sort of thing happen, sadly, as EA added (and subsequently pulled) in-game ads to UFC 4 that ran during replays after fans voiced their anger.

“It is abundantly clear from your feedback that integrating ads into the Replay and overlay experience is not welcome,” EA said at the time. “The advertisements have been disabled by the team and we apologize for any disruption to gameplay that players may have experienced.”

We've ad enough

It’ll be interesting to see how long these in-game adverts remain in NBA 2K21 once more players encounter them and, if they’re removed, it begs the question as to why 2K Games even added them in the first place. The answer, though, is probably pretty obvious. 

With NBA 2K21 set to cost $70 on PS5 and Xbox Series X, the idea of watching adverts during a game simply won’t wash, and we hope that this ugly trend of adding in ads after a game’s release ends now.