While loot boxes have been the biggest target of criticism in the games industry lately, it seems that NBA 2K19 may be trying to up the ante, as the game now has unskippable ads that play before matches. As most people can probably guess, the move has resulted in a massive amount of negative feedback from fans of the franchise.
NBA 2K19 players all over the internet have taken to websites like Twitter and Reddit to voice their discontent, with many frustrated that a game they paid $60 for is now forcing them to watch paid ads. It is worth noting that 2K 19 was recently on sale for $3 on PS4 during the Days of Play sale, and some fans have pointed out that the ads may have to do with 2K attempting to make up lost revenue during the sale.
The ads in question are for a TV show called Snowfall, and while many fans are upset that 2K even added them in the first place, it's not the first time the company has done this. Previously, the game has forced players to watch ads for companies like Converse, among others. It's unclear if the ads will only stay temporarily or if they're in the game for good, but the damage has already been done in the eyes of many franchise fans.
Perhaps what's most concerning is the possibility of ads popping up in other triple-a games in the near future. Anti-loot box legislation is popping all over the world nowadays, and if the practice does get banned it doesn't seem too far-fetched that publishers could try to make up the loss in revenue by selling ad space in their games- like if players had to watch ads before a match of Call of Duty or a round of League of Legends.
How 2K will handle this backlash remains to be seen, though it does beg the question if fans will be willing to fork over another $60 for NBA 2K20 now that the possibility of having to watch ads has made its way to the series. It may have some effect on sales, though annualized sports games do tend to make a pretty hefty sum of money for publishers regardless of negative feedback, though NBA 2K19 reviews were positive at launch.
NBA 2K19 is available now on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.