NBA 2K18's custom shirt storefront is flooded with shirts with that look like designs from Supreme or soccer player jerseys. 2K has been removing shirts containing copyrighted material, and some players are not happy about seeing them go.
In NBA 2K18, players can create custom shirts in myCareer mode, which can then be voted on by other players. These are purely cosmetic items that will show up on a player character in the myPark portion of the game, where players play 3 on 3 street basketball. If the shirt reaches 100 votes, the player who created it can sell it for the game’s virtual currency, VC. Shirts initially went for 3,500 VC, but last month 2K made all custom shirts free. You can buy 15,000 VC for five dollars. The problem is a lot of players are making shirts with copyrighted logos or mimicking real brands. [Correction—3:01 PM: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the amount of players can play street basketball.]
Players on Reddit and YouTube are saying that both shirts they’ve created and shirts they have purchased are being removed from their inventories. One player who reached out to Kotaku was able to get a shirt refunded for his shirts, but said that he only got 10,000 VC, the price of about three shirts, when he says he paid for 10 shirts total at 3,500 VC each. You can earn VC by playing games or by purchasing it with real money, so losing VC is costly for either the player’s time or wallet. 2K did not respond to a request to comment in time for publication.
If you go to the in-game T-shirt kiosk and look at the submissions currently being voted on, you’ll see a plethora of copyrighted content immediately. In fact, the highest voted shirt at the moment is a plain black tee with the Superman logo on it.
Finding a shirt that does not have copyright material is a bit of a struggle. Other shirts featured logos from characters like the Punisher, and designs from brands like Supreme. You can also find jerseys for players from other sports. 2K sells licensed NBA jerseys for VC in the game, and has shirts with logos for brands like Gatorade and Mountain Dew, which you can buy for 249 VC each after completing an in-game mission. A search on YouTube for “custom shirts NBA 2K18" will yield a dozen tutorial videos for how to make such shirts. Taking down shirts featuring images and designs that 2K doesn’t have the right to makes perfect sense, but players are still frustrated by the changes. When custom t-shirts were announced, players were eager to recreate their favorite brands. NBA 2K18's myCareer mode is all about making a player that feels unique to each person, and these fans see themselves as people making content that players want from the game. One confused player who saw his shirts removed lamented in a YouTube video, “They rejected all of my shirts! ‘Polo With Gucci Belt,’ what’s wrong with that?”