from the advertising-is-content dept
For over a decade, we have been trying to drive home the point that advertising actually is content and that content is advertising. It’s a mindset sort of thing, but one that is incredibly important in an internet age where so much of a revenue emphasis is on ad-driven business models. The point of this all is that you can make any advertising included in a good or service all the more effective if –wait for it — your customers actually want and enjoy the ads. If they’re engaging, useful, or funny, the normal complaints you hear about commercials and the like simply melt away.
But if your ads both suck and you force them on your customers in a paid-for product in the most ham-fisted way? Well, then it turns out you’re 2K sports.
One of the many shitty things about the NBA 2K series is the fact that, for the last few years, there have been unskippable ads that sometimes load before a game. This year is no exception.
The ads usually turn up as part of a pre-game video, and while in previous years they’ve been for brands like Converse and the TV show Snowfall, this year it’s an Oculus Quest commercial that’s got fans upset.
I’m a fan of the NBA 2K series, but it is undeniable that this is the worst part of the franchise. When it comes to pissing off your own customers, who are often paying $60 for your product, there is no more comprehensive way to irritate them than by forcing advertisements upon them that are shitty and not useful. While this practice would be irritating for any game, it is especially so for NBA 2K, which is a retail game customers pay for and which already is chockablock full of in-game sponsorship advertising to go alongside microtransactions. And making the ads un-skippable seems to indicate just what media the 2K Sports folks think they’re delivering, because this is more of a television thing than a practice for video games.
Meanwhile, gamers are generally pissed, enough so that 2K Sports responded with a tweet.
It’s frankly quite hard to believe them, given that this has been the norm and the public response to it for some time. And, again, what if the ads were good? What if some real effort was made to put in content that was relevant, entertaining, or useful? Do we really think 2K Sports would be getting the same backlash?