In case you didn’t know, 2K Games released an NBA 2K20 trailer just this past week (which we’ve embedded below) that featured NBA 2K20 casino-like slot machines, and other gambling machinations presented as mini games to showcase the new features in MyTeam.
It’s gotten so out of hand that some gamers emailed the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) organization since the trailer seems too close to gambling for comfort, and the NBA 2K franchise caters to games rated for children to adults (PEGI 3). Well, PEGI has responded, and ti seems they’re in 2K Games’ side on this. Here’s their statement in full:
We have seen the announcement trailer of NBA 2K20 and noticed the controversy it has caused. We feel it is important to carefully explain when certain content is triggering the gambling descriptor in the PEGI system, but also to show when it does not at this moment.
A video game gets the gambling content descriptor if it contains moving images that encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling.
We use a help text to clarify this in more detail: This refers to types of betting or gambling for money that is normally played/carried out in casinos, gambling halls, racetracks. This does not cover games where betting or gambling is simply part of the general storyline. The game must actually teach the player how to gamble or bet and/or encourage the player to want to gamble or bet for money in real life.
For example, this will include games that teach the player how to play card games that are usually played for money or how to play the odds in horse racing.
It is important to stress that the controversial imagery played a central role in the trailer, but it may not necessarily do so in the game, which has not yet been released.
At this point in time, PEGI can only comment on the trailer that has been made publicly available.
The trailer includes imagery that is generally known from casinos (wheel of fortune, slot machines). Using this sort of mechanic to select an item, or character, or action by chance is not the same as teaching how to gamble for money in a casino. These differences currently prevent us from applying the gambling descriptor. But we are very aware that it may get too close for comfort for some people, and that is part of an internal discussion that PEGI is having for the moment. The games industry is evolving constantly (and rapidly in recent years). As a rating organisation, we need to ensure that these developments are reflected in our classification criteria. We do not base our decisions on the content of a single trailer, but we will properly assess how the rating system (and the video games industry in general) should address these concerns.
PEGI Consumer Affairs
In case you’re curious, here’s the trailer, which features loot box mechanics, and the like. Note that the video us currently unlisted, due to negative backlash, and is now sitting at over 17,000 dislikes.
PEGI’s explanation is that while the trailer might feature casino-like elements, it doesn’t necessarily teach people how to gamble or encourage people to gamble, which would then necessitate a gambling descriptor.
While PEGI might have a point, this trailer for NBA 2K20 kinda crosses the line in terms, in my opinion. At this point, it’s just flat out advertising the gambling aspect more so than the game or its features. Will 2K Games cave and change this? Let’s hope they do.
NBA 2K20 release this September 6 on the PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.