Last week, traditional game publisher 2K games released a rather controversial trailer for NBA 2K20 that was filled with slot machines, prize wheels as well as depictions of two people getting really excited for winning prizes. Now, a couple of years or so ago, this would not have been much of a big deal but since the video game industry is currently under close scrutiny with regards to gambling-related mini-games and loot boxes, it is quite easy to see why there would be some backlash. The NBA 2K20 trailer went as far as racking up a whopping 18,000 dislikes before it was eventually taken down.
As it turns out, some viewers were so displeased with the trailer that they filed a complaint with the Pan European Game Information (PEGI). It is obvious why there was such a reaction – a large portion of the trailer focuses on the mini-games that the players have access to and how they can be used to get in-game rewards. As mentioned earlier, many of the casino games are modeled after popular casino games and therefore some people have argued that the trailer was essentially promoting gambling. NBA 2K20 is a PEGI-3 game which means that children can legally purchase it and this is the biggest point of concern.
The rating board responded to the complaints by issuing a statement that mostly served as an explanation as to why it would not be able to take action.
“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,” reads part of PEGI’s statement.
Well, all things considered, PEGI is actually right about the fact that the mini-games in the very popular video game are technically not gambling. This is because nothing is really wagered in the mini-games and whatever is won has no value outside the game.
Even so, the organization admitted that despite the existing limitations, they are fully aware of the fact that the mini-games being added to some video games are getting to close to comfort for very many people. The gaming industry has been evolving rapidly but the policies and guidelines have lagged behind hence the complications that have arisen due to the mini-games and even loot boxes. Perhaps that is where more focus needs to be, at least for now.