If you're looking for a last-minute Halloween costume, 2K Sports has you covered. The people behind NBA 2K15 are poking fun at themselves and their game with a collection of eight Halloween masks based on face scans gone awry.
NBA 2K15 generated some bad publicity at its launch earlier this month for the grotesque creations that its new face scanning technology produced. The scanning engine, which works on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One using the PlayStation Camera or Kinect, respectively, is a temperamental piece of software that can be difficult to use in less-than-ideal conditions.
My colleague Owen Good, for example, spent a lot of time in a futile effort to get the scan to work in his living room, and was so frustrated that he called the scanning feature a "tedious, painful disaster." Owen's accompanying video offered enough in the way of schadenfreude to catch the attention of Jimmy Kimmel Live, as Kotaku noticed.
I might ordinarily consider the Halloween masks a harmless stunt that humanizes a company, a playful attempt to "own it" — "it" being an embarrassingly broken feature in 2K Sports' most popular game — that makes me go, "Well played, folks." But the video that 2K Sports posted today (see above) isn't funny; it's insulting to anybody who has run into problems with NBA 2K15's face scanning engine.
In the "parody" video, 2K Sports senior community manager Ronnie Singh does everything NBA 2K15 advises against when trying to scan your face: He holds the camera right up to his face, keeps moving his head, doesn't maintain the same facial expression and blinks frequently, and does it all in low light. The message from Ronnie and 2K Sports, in effect, is this: Our face scanning feature isn't broken or poorly designed; you're just doing it wrong.
Watch how much trouble Owen had in his video below, and see if you agree. For more on NBA 2K15, check out our full review.