2K Games is now selling ad space in NBA 2K19 and preventing players from skipping it.
Gamers expect simplicity when purchasing a game. We want to pay our $20, $40, or $60 (and sometimes $80 and $100) and be provided a whole game.
Then the internet happened and it all went to hell in a handbasket.
Suddenly, paid DLC and microtransactions were everywhere. Nowadays you can’t buy a whole game at all--you can just buy part of it, with the rest costing $20 extra in four easy installments. And that fancy skin you really like? $5 on top of that.
We seem to have become used to this monetization model. But hold onto your gamepads, because it’s about to get a whole lot worse.
Now that streaming video is the new normal, game publishers have found a way to throw in paid advertising into their games. 2K Games, ever on the forefront of predatory monetization, has now added unskippable paid ads to NBA 2K19’s loading screens. The player is going to sit there and wait for the game to load anyway, so why not have them look at an ad?
To be fair to 2K, the ad is inserted in such a way as to perfectly simulate the experience of watching an actual NBA game, which we’re not sure is an indictment of cable TV or 2K Games. It is slick, but also sickening to see gamers are now expected to deal with advertising after paying full price for a game.
Worse, it seems to extend the loading time before the actual game can begin. The ad is a typical 30-second length, but the loading time is done before the ad is finished. However, you can’t skip the ad.
What’s next? Unskippable ads on the loading screens of Cyberpunk 2077? This sort of thing flies for mobile games which are almost universally offered for free--paying with ad-space is understandable. But a console game like NBA 2K19?
Grab your pitchforks and torches, gamers. The future of gaming is going to get ugly.