PEGI Issues Firm Response to Critics of NBA 2K20 Age Rating

  • PEGI will not yet be changing their age rating for NBA 2K20
  • No changes based solely on video uploaded by 2K on YouTube, waiting for full release
  • 110-second trailer shows gambling elements, such as prize wheels and slot machines
  • Parents have voiced their concerns over contents of the clip
Basketball players playing on court inside a large stadium.
PEGI refuses to change NBA 2K20 age rating despite public outcry over a recent trailer. [Image: Shutterstock]

No changes, yet

Pan-European Game Information (PEGI), the main age-rating organization in the European video game industry, has issued a firm response to complaints surrounding the contents of a trailer for NBA 2K20.

The organization has confirmed that it will not be adding a gambling content disclaimer to the game just on the basis of a trailer uploaded on YouTube.

PEGI received complaints relating to a 110-second trailer that showcases the different types of mini-games available within the MyTeam game mode. These mini-games allow players to earn rewards in-game through gambling-themed features like prize wheels and slot machines. 

Not much actual gameplay was shown in the trailer for the latest release in the hit franchise. Instead, it mainly focused on gambling elements.

allow players to earn rewards in-game through features like prize wheels and slot machines

Members of the public are concerned about the game having an E rating (Everyone) in the United States market and a PEGI 3 rating in Europe. 

Therefore, children of most ages can play this game. Parents are concerned about their children being exposed to the casino gaming elements of the video game.

Statement from PEGI

PEGI took time to explain in detail their decision to give a 3 rating to NBA 2K20. The organization spoke about why a game is categorized as having gambling elements and why it is not. 

Video games are categorized as having gambling content if there are moving elements which teach and/or encourage the playing of games of chance in a traditional form of gambling.

Therefore, this means types of gambling which are normally seen in the likes of racetracks, gambling facilities and casinos. PEGI says:

This does not cover games where betting or gambling is simply part of the general storyline.”

The gameplay has to directly show the player how they can gamble and/or encourage them to gamble in their real lives. This could be in the form of showing players how to play a card game like poker.

Potential changes upon release

PEGI also wanted to clarify that while the trailer in question contained a lot of this controversial imagery, the game itself may not include much of this content upon its official release.

The game is set to launch on September 6 on Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC and Nintendo Switch. There is also a demo of the game available currently on all four of these gaming platforms.

The age-rating organization is only able to comment on the footage that is publicly available. However, they did say that they are aware of the concerns. There is an ongoing internal dialogue within PEGI with regards to rating games with this type of content.

PEGI will wait until the full release of the game to properly assess the potential gambling elements in NBA 2K20. Therefore, there could be a change in the rating of the game in Europe and the addition of a gambling content disclaimer following the game’s release.