Update (October 22, 2020): In response to fan criticism over showing unskippable ads during loading screens, it looks like NBA 2K21 will soon be removing the feature in a future episode of the game. "As many are aware, in recent years ads have been integrated into 2KTV segments. Yesterday's 2KTV ad placement impacted our players' experience in a way we didn't intend, as these ads are not meant to run as part of the pre-game introduction. This will be fixed in future episodes. Thanks for your continued feedback," says the publisher.
We're increasingly told that game loading screens will soon be a thing of the past, but 2K Sports apparently thinks those few seconds or minutes are a good opportunity to pitch unskippable ads in its $60 NBA 2K21. It's a similar stunt to what EA pulled off recently with UFC 4, which it soon had to undo following fan backlash.
Like its FIFA counterpart from EA, 2K Sports' NBA series is often criticized for churning out annual installments that barely add new gameplay elements but have slightly better-looking crowds, some added sweat and reflections, and a roster update to make them feel new.
In addition to facing criticism for these minor updates, the NBA series, like most sports games, features microtransactions as well and will also be getting a price bump for next-gen consoles. One could be forgiven for thinking that 2K Sports would have exhausted all options to squeeze out as much money as possible from their games. But wait...there's more.
Stevivor reports that NBA 2K21 recently started showing ads for the Oculus Quest 2 on its loading screen. The feature was absent in review copies of the game and has been added via an update across PS4, Xbox One, and PC versions of the game.
The move is similar to EA's, which added unskippable ads for Amazon's The Boys in UFC 4, only to have them disabled shortly after facing fan backlash. Unlike EA's ad, however, the one in NBA 2K21 is considerably longer and requires players to watch till the end before they can edit their lineups.
Gamers, understandably annoyed by this experience, can always disapprove by voting with their wallets, but NBA fans looking for a modern basketball game with their favorite players have no other option besides putting up with 2K's cash grab tactics in NBA 2K21.