I Feel Gross Just Watching NBA 2K20’s Loot Box Trailer

NBA 2K20 is supposed to be a game primarily about playing basketball, but you wouldn’t know that from the game’s latest trailer, which makes the game look like something you might see in a casino.

Released on Monday, the “MyTeam” trailer for NBA 2K20 shows off all the ways you can recruit better players and win prizes through randomized games. As in games prior, the whole system revolves around card packs. Open more packs, get (hopefully) more rare and more powerful players. Players can even evolve now, sort of like Pokémon. Doesn’t that sound fun?

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Then there’s the “reimagined Triple Threat” mode with “tons more prizes!” At this point, only 30 seconds in, the trailer shows what players can get for racking up wins, including in-game currency, more card packs, and even a chance to “spin to win!” further jackpot prizes.

There are also ball drops—you know, those minigames like on The Price Is Right where you watch a ball randomly fall through a series of pegs hoping it hits one of the color-coded platforms on the way down. The trailer even shows NBA 2K streamer CashNastyGaming bobbing back and forth between anguish and excitement while watching it unfold. And, of course, there’s a literal slot machine you can pull to match three gems and potentially win back your self-respect.

The series’ My Team mode has been trending toward being a microtransaction-stuffed nightmare for some time, but rather than try to temper that at all, the latest trailer appears to be an even further embrace of that business model. Fans on the game’s subreddit immediately roasted 2K Games for highlighting a literal slot machine in the mode’s latest trailer, despite that 2K had claimed to Belgian and Dutch officials in the past that there’s no gambling in the game.

Of course, whether or not mini-games involving wheel spins, ball drops, and slot machines qualify as actual gambling if they don’t involve actual cash, it’s still a grim way to pitch the biggest basketball game around.

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Ethan Gach

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com