By Isaac Chandler
August 29, 2019
We’ve talked extensively these past few months about the controversy surrounding loot boxes in gaming, but this is taking the debate around gambling to a whole new level. In fact, the likes of the NBA 2k20 gambling may have never been seen in the gaming world.
NBA 2K20, the newest addition of the the NBA 2K franchise, released a trailer Monday for the newest iteration of the My Team mode. It included a flurry of new micro-transaction systems that are shockingly reminiscent of casino gambling games.
The most blatant of these new NBA 2k20 gambling games is the new “Triple Threat” slot machine. Players can spin the slots to try and win player cards, which allow you to use that player on your team (got a Lebron card? You can use Lebron now).
You also can play on a plinko machine which. You can lightly control it appears via tilting your controller but still is mostly a game of luck. The video didn’t show off the prizes for this one, but it’s safe to assume it’s also player cards and currency for the mode.
Finally, there’s a prize wheel you can spin to either get more currency or again try and win a player card.
Also, you have the traditional “booster packs” you can buy and loot crates, along with the $100 special edition of the game that comes with a few of these packs and some currency as well.
In light of the recent global controversy surrounding recent trends in micro-transactions in gaming, these new games of chance cross the line into gambling territory.
Normally something like this in a game would get it pushed well into the M-rating from the ESRB, the gaming rating board, but shockingly the game still, at the time of this writing, has an E-rating on their official website.
Furthermore, the rating makes no mention of the gambling mechanic, meaning parents could buy this for their kids without realizing it exists in the game.
Given the history of children using their parents’ credit cards for in-game purchases in other titles, this NBA 2k20 gambling move seems like a recipe for disaster.
We’ve reached out to the ESRB for clarification on the game’s rating and will update you all when we hear word back from them.