The basketball game NBA 2K20 has made the news as the European games rating group PEGI and the US equivalent, ESRB, have been considering how to rate content depicting gambling.
Neither of the two rating organisations flagged NBA 2K20 for
gambling, simulated or otherwise. PEGI explained its reasoning saying that the gambling content descriptor doesn't apply because the mini-games involved in NBA 2K's MyTeam mode don't actually encourage and/or teach the use of games of chance that are
played/carried out as a traditional means of gambling.
The reply from PEGI acknowledges that the agency had seen the announcement trailer of NBA 2K20 and noticed the controversy it has caused. However, the board's representative noted 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.
PEGI notes that this isn't gambling, per se, in that nothing is really wagered in the slot machine, wheel of
fortune and pachinko mini-games, and whatever is won has value only as game content. Wheel/slot spins and ball drops are earned through gameplay and can't be bought, so nothing is really wagered.
For the ESRB, these mini-games aren't even
simulated gambling. In its rating summary for NBA 2K20 , the game's only content descriptor is mild language, as apparently the words hell and damn are in some dialogue.
PEGI says that the controversy over the game's trailer 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 organization, 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.
Interestingly enough, the trailer posted by 2K
Games' United Kingdom YouTube account has since been taken down . It's still live on the main NBA 2K YouTube channel.
NBA 2K20 launches Friday, Sept. 6 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
Video games sold in Eureopean stores are set to carry a new label warning that the game includes in-game purchases.
Popular titles like Fortnite and FIFA are examples of games that generate revenue using this approach.
The labels are pitched as
a warning to parents that their children need to be watched lest they spend significant money on digital items.
Last December, the Metro reported that a teenager had accidentally spent his mother's entire monthly wage on FIFA 18 because her debit
card was registered to his PlayStation account.
PEGI (Pan European Game Information) - which provides age ratings for games in the UK - has now announced it plans to introduce a new badge for physical releases to help inform parents as they
shop.Simon Little, managing director at the classification board, said:
Making parents aware of the existence of optional in-game purchases upfront is an important first step. FIFA allows players to spend extra money
to build their teams.
We recently surveyed more than 2,000 parents on our platform and found that more than half of parents allow their children to play video games for over 18s, without supervision or knowledge of the game
beforehand. In contrast, just 18% said they would let 10-14-year-olds watch an 18+ movie.
We also discovered that 86% of parents admitted that they don't follow age restrictions on video games, compared to 23% who said they didn't
follow age restrictions on films.
43% of parents say they have seen a negative change in their child's behaviour since playing games aimed at adults, and 22% of the 2,171 respondents said their kids now understand and use negative
or offensive language since playing these games.
86% of parents don't believe that games will impact their child's behaviour or outlook on life. However 62% admit they have tried to take the games away from their kids but gave
them back soon after because of tantrums and 48% fear that their child is addicted to video games.
Richard Conway, founder of Childcare.co.uk said:
It's difficult in this day and age to govern
what your child is exposed to, because if your 10-year-old has friends who are playing Fortnite, which is rated 12, you want them to be included in the fun. However, it's always worth looking into the game to see if it's suitable rather than leaving them
to their own devices.
What's interesting is that the majority of parents follow film age ratings, but when it comes to video games they maybe aren't as strict. It's important to remember how impressionable children are; if they
see behaviour or language in a video game or movie, they may mimic it.