You’ll Never Guess Who’s Trying to Kill NBA 2K20 in the U.K.

July 4, 2020 7:00 PM UTC
The U.K.'s House of Lords has called for loot boxes to immediately be reclassified as gambling. That could be a death blow to NBA 2K20 in the U.K.
  • The U.K.’s House of Lords has called for loot boxes to be classified as gambling.
  • Games like NBA 2K20 seem to have loot boxes baked into their core.
  • If this happens, it’ll be a significant step in the eradication of loot boxes in video games.

Loot boxes are under attack again—this time by the U.K. House of Lords. The second chamber of British parliament has called for an immediate reclassification of loot boxes as gambling. It’s a massive blow to games like NBA 2K20.

If the change goes through, games featuring loot boxes could fall under the same laws as slot machines and betting.

Soon, loot boxes might be practically dead in the U.K., and that would be fantastic.

It seems pretty black and white to me that this constitutes gambling. It’s a slot machine you can spend real money to use. | Source: YouTube

Loot Boxes Going Extinct?

If loot boxes are classified as gambling, then any game that includes them must have an 18-plus age limit. That’s if they follow the same laws as other forms of gambling in the U.K.

This would cripple games like NBA 2K20 that are filled with loot boxes. The game has sold over 8 million units since launch. If the change happens, it’ll either have to remove these mechanics or reclassify the game for older crowds.

Then again, NBA 2K20 is a game that fully embraces the ‘not-technically-gambling’ status of loot boxes. The game features three activities that are pretty close to gambling: a pachinko-style pegboard, spinning wheels, and slot machines.

That’s hard to defend as ‘not gambling.’

Loot boxes are not well-liked by many in the gaming community, so reactions to the news tended towards the positive. | Source: Twitter

No Sympathy for NBA 2K20

Admittedly, this situation will be a significant financial blow to many companies. Revenue from loot boxes is sky-high. I think these companies deserve to have the clamps come down.

You cannot look at the literal slot machine in NBA 2K20 and tell me it isn’t gambling. You’ll find similar ‘games’ up and down the country in adult-only establishments and the corner of bars.

I’m not the only one who thinks so. Public opinion on the move seems highly tipped in favor of loot boxes being gambling. There is something especially heinous about them when they’re in games rated 3+ like NBA 2K20.

No More Inaction

This isn’t the first time that the question of loot boxes being gambling has come up. Early in June, the government promised a call to evidence that loot boxes constituted gambling. Since then, we haven’t gotten a date for the call to evidence to start.

The House of Lords’ new report says quick action on the matter is crucial. For too long, game developers have been able to sell gambling to children and young teenagers. Games like NBA 2K20 show how serious the problem is.

When a game’s trailer features more footage of gambling-like mechanics than of the gameplay, then you know there’s a problem. If NBA 2K20, and games like it, can’t survive without gambling mechanics, then there’s something wrong with those games.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.

Sam Bourgi edited this article for CCN.com. If you see a breach of our Code of Ethics or find a factual, spelling, or grammar error, please contact us.

Last modified: July 2, 2020 11:12 PM UTC

@mizushinzui

William Worrall is a professional writer based out of the UK who has been writing about video and tabletop games for over a decade and has covered industry events such as EGX and UKGE. Visit his website, contact him at william.worrall@ccn.com, see his LinkedIn profile here, or check him out on Muck Rack.