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.