2K Sports owns the basketball video game market with their NBA 2K, with little competition from the newly-revived EA’s NBA Live franchise. Well, 2K Sports latest trailer for NBA 2K20 featured a controversial MyTeam gambling slot machine where players spend virtual currency to roll for MyTeam rare cards.
The Pan European Game Information board, aka PEGI, addressed the matter with a statement on Reddit. The board had already gave NBA 2K20 a 3+ rating, which doesn’t coincide with the slot machines and wheel of fortune gambling activities shown in the trailer. Here is a part of the board’s statement.
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.
NBA 2K20 releases on September 6th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.