NBA 2K21 publisher 2K has been criticized by players for adding unskippable full-screen adverts into the premium title a month after launch.
As reported by Stevivor, the adverts are attached to a pre-game video that auto-plays on load screens, and have reportedly made their way into both the console and PC versions of the game. One of the ads (pictured below) is for the Oculus Quest 2, and runs for around 15 seconds.
Players on the NBA2K subreddit have almost universally slammed the adverts, with one calling both the ads and 2K "absolutely pathetic" while another suggested "there should be zero ads in a game that comes out yearly and costs $60."
It's a similar move to the one pulled by EA earlier this year, with the publisher adding intrusive full-screen advertisements into UFC 4 after the game had launched.
EA eventually performed a u-turn and removed the ads after players called out the contentious design choice, explaining it's "abundantly clear from your feedback that integrating ads into the Replay and overlay experience is not welcome."
It'll be interesting to see if player pressure ultimately prompts 2K into reviewing its own decision, or whether the ads in NBA 2K21 are here to stay.
Update (10/21/20): 2K has indicated the unskippable in-game ads that recently appeared in NBA 2K21 were the result of a mistake. In a short statement posted on Twitter, the publisher said the video advertisement affected players "in a way we didn't intend" by running into the pre-game introduction, although it didn't explain what caused the apparent error.
It thanked fans, who were understandably disgruntled to to find their premium game experience locked away behind an 15 second spot, for their feedback and confirmed the issue will be fixed.
"As many are aware, in recent years ads have been integrated into 2KTV segments," reads the statement. "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. Thank you for your continued feedback."