NBA 2K Is Very Sorry About Charging Players For Haircuts

NBA 2K18 had a lot of problems, the biggest being the fact it was riddled with microtransactions. I’ve been playing 2K19 all weekend and while some of the same issues persist at least there’s one difference: haircuts are now free, and the new barber is very aware of it.


Last year’s game turned a change of hairstyle—previously a free and easy part of character customisation—into an experience that wasn’t just charging the player virtual currency, but wouldn’t let them preview the look on their character, or even let them get the same haircut later without charging them all over again.

It was only one of a litany of cash-grabbing intrusions into what’s otherwise the best basketball game on the market, but it quickly became a flashpoint point for angry fans, who rightly saw it as a farcical piece of nickel-and-diming on the part of 2K.

This year’s game is still very geared towards microtransactions, sadly, and I’ll cover that more once I’ve played some more (early thoughts: they’re still offensively implemented, though not as bad as last year), but I did at least get a chuckle from this cutscene, which plays the first time you enter the neighbourhood barbershop.

That is about as clear a mea culpa as you’re ever going to get from a major video game publisher. To have it enshrined in the game itself, and not just relegated to Ronnie 2K’s Twitter or something, was a nice touch.

Now if we can just get the NBA Shop guy to apologize for charging so much for a pair of shorts, we’ll be good.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs


Luke Plunkett

Further early thoughts: you get more VC per game, and everything feels a little more generous.

But like...the overall implementation of VC within the game is still just so ever-present and gross. It feels like I’m playing a F2P mobile game, not a AAA sports game people have already paid good money for.