2K’s Ethical Dilemma

Lately there has been a particularly egregious breach of ethics that’s been spotted from 2K,  more specifically the developer of the NBA 2K series, and certain youtube channels.  2K Sports sent out a special kit to people who’ve been playing their game on youtube. They have been doing this openly and nobody, not the supposedly “ethical” or “drum beating” gaming journalists nor the youtube channels involved, seems to have an issue with it. It is the duty of a journalist to point this out.

These youtubers seem to be getting bribes with swag and accepting them. They’re even having close contact with some of the people that promotes the NBA 2k series @Ronnie2K.

@Ronnie2K @LD2K whoever came up with this marketing idea did a great job! Straight Photo cred @QJBeat pic.twitter.com/MYvoNhlmQa

— Cedric M. Bullock (@jordan23ww) July 24, 2015

Thxs @Ronnie2K, @NBA2K, great soundtrack & even better radio. My kids hv no idea what it is. http://t.co/QGp10Ja19V pic.twitter.com/fIfDmlO1Sb

— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) July 24, 2015

@jordan23ww @CashNastyGaming Cash could use some nice tunes while taking it to the srcubbies on MyTEAM.

— Chris Manning 2K16 (@LD2K) July 24, 2015

These are just few of the tweets regarding this whole campaign from the Playlist BoomBox. They are giving them out to people in the 2k youtube community that are popular. The videos from the receiving channels don’t show that this is sponsored content and that not all gamers who play the game will get this package for 2K16. While some may question whether the receiving of gifts from developers and showing it off is in itself unethical, the mere fact that the items received aren’t available to anyone other than the you tubers highlights the anti-consumer practices that run rampant throughout the industry.
We have a person like QJB on youtube who recently showed his swag off:


We also have another highly unethical person in Shake4ndBake who did the same thing. He did not disclose it either:


This is part of the #BeTheStory campaign from 2k, and they’ve now given swag out to youtubers that have no problem promoting their products in return.

2K has also been very unkind to the international fans of the series by releasing the best cards in the game for free in a limited supply on twitter. The problem is that they’re only giving North American players the best times to grab these and never any reasonable times for the rest of the world.

I did do a story where 2K was going to take down the servers, even deleting offline saves. This outraged gamers enough that 2K relented and put the servers back up.

2K is actively bribing youtubers for coverage and attention for their game franchise, while also engaging in anti-consumer practices. The youtubers are making money from this and again giving the game attention which it might not otherwise deserve. Both sides need to realize the ethical quandaries they are in.