‘There was no warning’: 2K faces community backlash after banning leading WWE 2K24 creator

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2K is facing a community backlash, following its decision to ban a popular WWE 2K24 creator.

On April 22, ‘WhatsTheStatus’, a creator known for uploading content that is usually inaccessible to players, took to X to announce that all of his uploads, which amounted to dozens of wrestlers and other content, had been removed from the game without warning.

The following day, he claimed he’d been permanently banned from playing the game online, thus losing all access to its community creations features, with no option to appeal.

“We were recently alerted that this account has been associated with inappropriate content,” read a message allegedly displayed to WhatsTheStatus when he logged into the game. “This is a violation of our End User License Agreement which every player accepts prior to accessing WWE 2K24 online features.”

Asked for clarification on the ban, a 2K spokesperson told VGC: “The player in question has received an indefinite ban due to violations of terms.

“Mods which negatively impact the game experience for other players violate our terms. Our primary concern is a positive WWE 2K24 experience for all players.”

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It’s not clear exactly which content was deemed to have violated 2K’s terms, but WhatsTheStatus is known for uploading content that is usually inaccessible to players, such as hidden models of certain wrestlers, or characters that appear in the game but aren’t playable, such as the in-game commentators.

Notably, in WWE 2K24, he uploaded versions of every female wrestler in the game, enabling them to wrestle against male wrestlers, something the standard game doesn’t allow.

Due to his reputation for uploading this type of content, WhatsTheStatus developed a large following in the WWE games community. Following his ban, many players have expressed anger at 2K.

“Free Status,” briefly trended in the United States and Canada this week. The trend featured thousands of posts in which players expressed their frustration about the ban.

“What I’m seeing happen to WhatsTheStatus is extremely upsetting & disappointing,” wrote prominent WWE 2K community creator @OmegamanX44. “@WWEgames this is a massive mistake & alienating a large chunk of your community,”

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VGC reached out to WhatsTheStatus, who asked to be referred to as ‘Status’ rather than a legal name, in order to clarify the situation.

“There was no warning shot. It just happened,” he claimed. “Usually there’s a process of 3 strikes, a 24-hour ban, then two weeks, then a permanent ban. I didn’t even get an email stating the reason for the ban.”

When asked about the likelihood that 2K will have had to maintain the standards of their license partner in WWE, specifically regarding intergender wrestling, Status asked for “the same treatment as everyone else.”

“I was banned with no warning and no confirmation on what caused it, so it could be anything. I wasn’t the first, nor the only one to upload intergender content but I get the hit and everyone else gets away with it.”

At the time of writing, VGC was able to easily find community creation content which allowed intergender wrestling that has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

“When their official influencers are telling people where to download this stuff from other users other than myself nothing happens to anyone, WWEGames don’t pay attention to community creations, it’s just a target on me,” Status claimed.

 2K faces community backlash after banning leading WWE 2K24 creator

The creator was keen to note that he publicly refused to upload the hidden character model of Vince McMahon in response to the ongoing legal issues surrounding the former WWE chairman.

“I uploaded Roman Reigns with his hair up in a manbun from MyRise and one patch later you cannot download that Roman Reigns model anymore because WWEGames blocked users from doing so but do you want to know who you can still download? the hidden Vince McMahon model. So now tell me how that isn’t targeted.”

The issue of uploading hidden models doesn’t appear to be a black-and-white one, as Status claimed 2K permitted him to upload several hidden models in WWE2K22.

At the time of writing, a growing number of prominent figures in the WWE games space have shown public support for Status, including some that were previously affiliated with 2K.

Another popular community creator, Defract, announced on Wednesday that he had left 2K’s Nextmakers program, seemingly partly in response to the banning of WhatsTheStatus.

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The Nextmaker program is 2K’s influencer partnership program, which sees creators partner with 2K to receive early access to the game for recording content. This program was also intended for creators to provide feedback to 2K. However, many in the community doubt how much feedback is provided.

One issue that has been routinely highlighted is the apparent lack of content filtering on the community creations tab, which allows players to upload custom images.

What was intended to be used to upload logos and graphics to be used in arenas and on t-shirts for in-game wrestlers has instead been flooded with explicit imagery, for example.

VGC was able to easily find explicit images within the first two pages of the “new” tab on community creations.

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