Is 2K Ripping-off NBA Fans?
NBA 2K18

Sometimes, we come across problems in games we would never even expect to exist. This is one of those instances. Ready? Because things are about to get weird. There is an issue with counterfeit clothing in NBA 2K18, and players are paying the price for other people’s misdeeds. I told you this was odd.

Here is the situation. In NBA 2K18, you can make custom clothing. These t-shirts are then subject to voting to determine which ones are popular and deserve to be widely available. The ones that receive 100 votes go up for sale in the community store. This means people can spend Virtual Currency on them. 2K gets a cut from the sales, as does the person who created them. Since VC can be earned or purchased, it provides another income avenue.

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How could such a concept go wrong? Well, because apparently 2K did not have enough supervision in place. It is incredibly easy to put trademarked designs on these custom t-shirts. If someone goes to Buy a Shirt in-game, they will see thousands of branded designs that really should not be there. But they are, people buy them, and now 2K taking action against them is screwing people over in a very unfortunate way.

See, shirts could at one point be bought for around 3,500 VC each, before being made free in November 2017. For perspective, 15,000 VC costs $4.99. People who purchased one or more of these counterfeit shirts that 2K is removing will find themselves both without money and without a shirt. The items are taken from the in-game store and players’ closet without any notice. In many instances, refunds are not being granted. And, when they are, 2K is offering minor restitutions. As Kotaku noted, one person only received 10,000 VC from 2K after paying 35,000 VC for custom shirts that had all been removed. 

NBA 2K18

The problem is, 2K potentially profited off of these shirts for quite a while. But when things go wrong and its own improper policing of the marketplace lead to copyright infringement and the need to remove items, it isn’t making things right for players. People who did pay good, virtual money for these goods suddenly are left with absolutely nothing. Which is pretty much punishing the victim. Because after all, the first thing you start seeing in games with creator options is people making items from famous brands or series.

There are easy solutions to this. First would be to give everyone a courtesy amount of NBA 2K18 currency. Maybe like 15,000-35,000 VC for everyone. I mean, it isn’t real money. It’s all digital. Doling that out to all players would be a nice show of goodwill. Second would be to have some actual moderation force in place to police the storefront. Because people are absolutely going to infringe on existing IP with a custom creator. Finally, maybe try to not be so greedy with virtual currency in the next NBA 2K game and involve VC in custom purchases from the very start?

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
JMariye

Site Editor
Date: 12/08/2017

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