The controversial in-game business model of the NBA 2K franchise has finally caught up with its parent company Take-Two Interactive.
According to a report by Bloomberg earlier today, a class-action lawsuit has been filed against Take-Two Interactive for exploiting minors by encouraging them to purchase microtransactions and loot boxes in its NBA 2K games.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a parent and contends that the in-game payment model of NBA 2K games “psychologically distance” players from the reality of real-world financial spending or management.
The implications can be severe in the case of minors who are unable to draw a line between real-world and virtual currencies. They also purchase microtransactions and loot boxes with their parents’ credit cards without permission, completely unaware that their in-game purchases are nonrefundable.
“Defendant’s [Take-Two Interactive’s] unfair, deceptive, and unlawful practices, including illegal gambling practices, deceive, mislead, and harm consumers,” said the complainant in the lawsuit filing.
The plaintiff seeks at least $5 million in damages from Take-Two Interactive on the basis that its NBA 2K franchise has been taking advantage of vulnerable players.
NBA 2K features a game mode called MyTeam where players can recruit former and current NBA stars to build their own teams. The mode is designed around microtransactions and loot boxes as players often end up spending real-world money in the hopes of unlocking a top-tier NBA player.
MyTeam has been criticized in the past for being nothing short of gambling. NBA 2K20 actually featured an entire casino for its collectible mode, complete with slot machines, pachinko machines, and a wheel of fortune for players to throw their money on for a chance to win rare player cards. The most recent NBA 2K22 installment faced similar criticisms for including awful microtransactions in an otherwise good game.