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NBA 2K21 Release Date & Features: 10 Things to Know

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The next version of NBA 2K is official and here’s what you need to know right now about NBA 2K21 based on confirmed information, traditions, rumors, and what we expect from the annual release.

NBA 2K20 is still the flagship game, but that will change later this year when 2K Sports and Visual Dynamics releases a brand new entry in the long-running series.

We don’t know a whole lot about NBA 2K21 and it could be awhile before we learn everything about 2K’s plans for the series. That said, details are trickling out and pre-orders have started for all compatible platforms.

With that in mind, here’s a closer look at what we know about NBA 2K21’s features, release date, editions, demo, and more.

NBA 2K21 Consoles

NBA 2K21 is heading to current platforms, a list that includes the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.

We’ll also see a release on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5.

There won’t be a release for legacy consoles like the Xbox 360 or PS3.

NBA 2K21 Cover

2K has confirmed all three NBA 2K21 cover athletes.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard graces the cover for current-generation consoles including the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

As expected, Zion Williamson is on the cover of NBA 2K21 and he’ll be on the front cover for next-gen consoles (PS5, Xbox Series X).

As for the last cover athlete, 2K is releasing a special edition that features the late Kobe Bryant on the front.

The cover for current-generation platforms features Kobe wearing the number number 8 jersey while the cover for next-gen platforms features him wearing his number 24 jersey.

NBA 2K21 Release Date

The NBA 2K21 release date for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC is set for September 4th. The game will also hit Google Stadia alongside these platforms.

A release for the PS5 and Xbox Series X will come later. Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox Series X in November and we assume the PS5 will hit shelves in and around then as well.

2K says NBA 2K21 for these platforms will arrive during the holidays so look for a release in November or December.

We could see Best Buy and GameStop host midnight NBA 2K21 launch events (perhaps limited to curbside pickup due to the coronavirus outbreak) giving those who pre-order a physical copy of the game a chance to pickup their game on the night of the release date.

Keep an eye out for those details as we push closer to the game’s release.

NBA 2K21 Editions

There are two NBA 2K21 editions including a standard edition for current-gen and next-gen and a Mamba Forever Edition for current-gen platforms and next-gen.

The standard edition retails for $59.99 for current-generation consoles, Windows PC, and Google Stadia while the standard edition for PS5 and Xbox Series X retails for $69.99.

Take-Two Interactive, the publisher of NBA 2K21, has defended its decision to charge $10 more for a copy of the game for next-generation platforms saying that it reflects the cost of development and the experience you can only have on next-generation platforms.

While it looks like the price increase will stand for NBA 2K21, Take-Two’s Strauss Zelnick told Gamesindustry.biz that it will price games on a “title-by-title basis” going forward.

NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition - PlayStation 4
  • Please note that this item is not currently eligible for Release Date Delivery, so pre-orders may not arrive on the day of release. Available shipping options can be found on the order confirmation page.
  • Order the NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition for PlayStation 4 and you will also receive NBA 2K21 and 100,000 Virtual Currency for PlayStation 5 upon release.
  • This edition includes 100,000 Virtual Currency, 10,000 MyTEAM points, MyTEAM packs, digital items for your MyPLAYER, and more!

If you want a little more with your purchase, you might opt for the Mamba Forever Edition which comes with a bunch of in-game items. The Mamba Forever Edition retails for $99.99 across the board.

If you buy this edition for Xbox One, PS4, Windows PC, Google Stadia, or Nintendo Switch, here’s what you get:

    • 100,000 Virtual Currency
    • 10,000 MyTEAM Points
    • 10 MyTEAM Tokens
    • 60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
    • 30 Gatorade Boosts
    • 40 MyTEAM Promo Packs (10 at launch, then 3 per week)
    • Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cards
    • MyPLAYER Shoe Collection
    • MyPLAYER backpack
    • Kobe Bryant Digital Collection
      • 5 MyPLAYER Shoes
      • 3 MyPLAYER Jerseys
      • Black Mamba MyPLAYER Uniform
      • Rookie Lakers MyTEAM Jerseys
      • Black Mamba custom MyTEAM Jerseys
      • Sapphire Kobe MyTEAM Card (Evos to Ruby)
      • 5 MyTEAM Shoes (Incl. 1 Diamond)

If you buy the Mamba Forever Edition for Sony’s PS5 or Microsoft’s Xbox Series X, here’s what you get with the bundle:

  • 100,000 Virtual Currency
  • 10,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Tokens
  • 60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 30 Gatorade Boosts
  • 40 MyTEAM Promo Packs (10 at launch, then 3 per week)
  • Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cards
  • MyPLAYER Shoe Collection
  • MyPLAYER 72 HR 2X REP Boost
  • MyPLAYER backpack and ball
  • Kobe Bryant Digital Collection
    • 5 MyPLAYER Shoes
    • 3 MyPLAYER Jerseys
    • Black Mamba MyPLAYER Uniform
    • Rookie Lakers MyTEAM Jerseys
    • Black Mamba custom MyTEAM Jerseys
    • Sapphire Kobe MyTEAM Card (Evos to Ruby)
    • 5 MyTEAM Shoes (Incl. 1 Diamond)

It’s also important to note that if you buy the Mamba Forever Edition for PS4 or Xbox One you also get the NBA 2K21 Standard Edition for PS5 or Xbox Series X, 100K bonus VC, and the Zion Williamson Digital Collection that’s accessible on next-gen.

If you buy this edition for PS5 for Xbox Series X, you get the NBA 2K21 Standard Edition for PS4 or Xbox One and the Damian Lillard Digital Collection.

We might see a few deals emerge before the game’s release date. Retailers like NewEgg often shave a few dollars off pre-orders so keep an eye out this summer.

That said, the bulk of NBA 2K21 deals will likely arrive around Black Friday in November, the holidays in December, and in 2021 as we push toward the release of NBA 2K22.

NBA 2K21 Pre-Order Bonus

If you pre-order a copy of the standard edition for Xbox One, PS4, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch or Google Stadia, you get the following pre-order bonuses:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered once a week)
  • 9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 5 pair Shoe Collection
  • Damian Lillard Digital Collection
    • Lillard MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Custom Lillard MyPLAYER T-shirt
    • Tissot Chrono XL NBA Watch for MyPLAYER

If you pre-order a copy of the standard edition for the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5, you get these bonus items:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered one a week)
  • 9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 5 pair Shoe Collection
  • Zion Williamson Digital Collection
    • Zion MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Zion New Orleans Pelicans MyPLAYER Jersey
    • Zion MyPLAYER Dunk Animation Package

If you pre-order a copy of the Mamba Forever Edition for current-generation consoles or PC/Google Stadia, you get the following items with your order:

  • Damian Lillard Digital Collection
    • Lillard MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Custom Lillard MyPLAYER T-shirt
    • Tissot Chrono XL NBA Watch for MyPLAYER

And if you pre-order a copy of the Mamba Forever Edition for the PS5 or Xbox Series X, you get the following bonus items:

  • Zion Williamson Digital Collection
    • Zion MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Zion New Orleans Pelicans MyPLAYER Jersey
    • Zion MyPLAYER Dunk Animation Package

2K says these pre-order bonus offers are available until 11:59 PM local time on September 3rd.

NBA 2K21 Features

After a lengthy wait, 2K has outlined some of the changes coming to the game for current-generation platforms (and we assume next-gen platforms as well). They include:

  • Pro Stick Shooting upgrades
  • 40 new Jump Shot Landings
  • Overhauled dribble moves
  • 50 new Size-Ups
  • No more Quick Draw badge
  • 6’8″ PGs in MyCAREER

NBA 2K Gameplay Director Mike Wang has gone into detail about these changes over on the NBA 2K21 blog so be sure to check it out.

2K has also released the first look at gameplay on current-generation consoles. You can see current-gen gameplay in action in the trailer below.

As for next-gen platforms, you can better graphics and faster load times for the Xbox Series X and PS5.

NBA 2K21 Soundtrack

2K has confirmed the official NBA 2K21 soundtrack and the list includes names like Polo G, Roddy Ricch, Stormzy, and Tory Lanez.

You can stream the soundtrack on your favorite device via Spotify right now.

NBA 2K21 Demo

2K Sports typically releases a short demo of the next NBA 2K game ahead of the official release date. The demo lets players try a portion of the game early.

Last year, 2K released the free NBA 2K20 demo on August 21st. The year before, it launched the NBA 2K19 Prelude on August 31st.

You can expect the NBA 2K21 demo to go live somewhere in the same time frame. It should be a free download for most platforms.

NBA 2K21 Mobile

You can expect a version of NBA 2K21 for iPhone, iPad, and Android. The release for these platforms will probably happen in and around the release for consoles.

The mobile version of NBA 2K is typically a stripped down version of the game. While it has elements from the consoles, it’s not identical.

For instance, the Android version of NBA 2K19 was missing sounds and a multiplayer mode which led to a bunch of complaints from Android users.

You can expect the mobile version of NBA 2K21 to retail for around $7.99 with an assortment of in-app purchases.

We also expect a companion app for NBA 2K21 called My NBA2K21. Like its predecessors, it should be free for both iOS and Android.

NBA 2K21 Microtransactions

While it would be great to see 2K Games do away with the game’s annoying micro-transactions, known as VC, they’re a cash cow. Virtual Currency will return in NBA 2K21.

2K has made adjustments over the years so there’s a chance we get some improvements in this year’s entry to the series. We’ll let you know when we learn more.

NBA 2K21 PC Requirements

No word on NBA 2K21’s minimum or recommended spec requirements for Windows PC. We expect those details to emerge much closer to the game’s release date in early September.

3 Reasons to Pre-Order NBA 2K21 & 6 Reasons to Wait

Pre-Order NBA 2k21 to Receive These Bonuses

Pre-Order NBA 2k21 to Receive These Bonuses

If you plan to invest a lot of time into NBA 2K21's various game modes, you might want to pre-order a copy because you'll get some bonuses with your order. 

If you pre-order a copy of the standard edition you get some bonus items that could prove useful. These bonuses include:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered once a week)
  • 9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 5 pair Shoe Collection
  • Damian Lillard Digital Collection
    • Lillard MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Custom Lillard MyPLAYER T-shirt
    • Tissot Chrono XL NBA Watch for MyPLAYER

If you pre-order a copy of the standard edition for PS5 or Xbox Series X, you get the following items:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo packs (delivered one a week)
  • 9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 5 pair Shoe Collection
  • Zion Williamson Digital Collection
    • Zion MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Zion New Orleans Pelicans MyPLAYER Jersey
    • Zion MyPLAYER Dunk Animation Package

If you decide you want to go with the expensive Mamba Forever Edition for current-generation platforms, you get these pre-order bonuses:

  • Damian Lillard Digital Collection
    • Lillard MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Custom Lillard MyPLAYER T-shirt
    • Tissot Chrono XL NBA Watch for MyPLAYER

And if you pre-order a copy of the Mamba Forever Edition for PS5 or Xbox Series X, you get the following bonuses with your order:

  • Zion Williamson Digital Collection
    • Zion MyTEAM Free Agent Card
    • Zion New Orleans Pelicans MyPLAYER Jersey
    • Zion MyPLAYER Dunk Animation Package

Those all come free with a pre-order and they'll give you a pretty good head start if you plan to play 2K's various game modes. 

Last update on 2020-08-13. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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