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



We don’t have an official announcement yet, but here’s what you need to know right now about NBA 2K21 based on traditions, rumors, and what we expect from the annual release.

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

We don’t know much about NBA 2K21 yet and it could be a few weeks, or months, before we learn more about 2K Sports’ plans for the series. That said, if the company follows standard protocol, we could see an official NBA 2K21 announcement in the near future with pre-orders starting up soon after.

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With that in mind, here’s a closer look at what you can expect from NBA 2K21’s features, release date, editions, Prelude, and more.

NBA 2K21 Launch Date

If traditions hold, the initial NBA 2K21 announcement will likely come sometime in the next few weeks.

EA’s starting to talk about Madden 21 and you can expect an NBA 2K21 announcement to come in May or June assuming the game doesn’t get pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Back in March, Gameplay Director for NBA 2K Mike Wang stated that he’s currently in “heavy 2K21 development” so it sounds like the game is on track for release sometime this year.

For reference, NBA 2K18 was confirmed in early May, NBA 2K19 was confirmed on June 5th, and NBA 2K20 was revealed in mid-2019.

The initial announcements are typically light on details so don’t expect 2K Games and Visual Concepts to show much of the game in the early going.

NBA 2K21 Release Date

We don’t have an official release date yet, but you can expect the NBA 2K21 release date to land sometime in September ahead of Black Friday and the holidays. Again, that’s assuming it doesn’t get pushed back. As of right now, that seems unlikely.

In Take-Two Interactive’s (2K’s parent company) recent earnings report, NBA 2K21 is listed as coming in “Fall 2020” which is in line with previous years.

In the past, 2K Games has offered an early tipoff release date to those who pre-order deluxe versions of the game, but it didn’t offer an early release date for NBA 2K20.

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

New Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
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New Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage) - Space Gray
  • Stunning 13.3-inch Retina display with True Tone technology
  • Backlit Magic Keyboard and Touch ID
  • Tenth-generation Intel Core i3 processor
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Fast SSD storage

NBA 2K21 Editions

You can expect two or three versions of NBA 2K21. There will likely be a no-frills standard edition, a digital deluxe version with some bonuses, and some kind of special edition. Of course, these will come at an additional cost.

NBA 2K20 - PlayStation 4
  • Best in class graphics & gameplay, groundbreaking game modes, and unparalleled player control and customization
  • NBA 2K20 is a platform for gamers and ballers to come together and create what's next in basketball culture
  • 1 to 4 players; Network Players 2 to 10 : Full game requires PlayStation Plus membership to access online multiplayer
  • 60GB minimum save size
  • Online Play (optional)

Last year, 2K Games launched a digital deluxe version of NBA 2K20 (which is still available at retailers like Amazon). Like the name implies, it’s limited to digital formats.

We don’t know what this year’s version of this bundle will feature, but last year’s Digital Deluxe Edition includes the following items:

  • 35,000 Virtual Currency;
  • 10,000 MyTEAM Points;
  • 10 MyCAREER Skill Boosts;
  • MyPLAYER Clothing Capsule;
  • 10 MyTEAM League Packs (delivered one per week);
  • 10 MyTEAM Heat Check Packs (delivered one per week beginning at the start of the NBA season);
  • 1 Sapphire MyTEAM Cover Athlete Card.

The companies also launched a Legend Edition with Dwyane Wade on the cover. The Legend Edition (also available through Amazon) features even more content and is aimed at hardcore fans of the 2K series. Here are the extras that come with the Legend Edition:

  • 100,000 Virtual Currency;
  • 50,000 MyTEAM Points;
  • 20 MyCAREER Skill Boosts;
  • MyPLAYER Clothing Capsule;
  • MyPLAYER Apparel Collection;
  • MyPLAYER Shoe Collection;
  • 20 MyTEAM League Packs (delivered one per week);
  • 20 MyTEAM Heat Check Packs (delivered one per week beginning at the start of the NBA season);
  • 5 MyTEAM Theme Packs (one per theme release across the next five releases);
  • 2 Sapphire MyTEAM Cover Athlete Cards.

NBA 2K21 Pre-Order Bonus

You can expect the game to come with some sort of pre-order bonus. Here is what those who pre-ordered a copy of NBA 2K20 got last year:

  • 5,000 Virtual Currency;
  • 5,000 MyTEAM Points;
  • 5 MyCAREER Skill Boosts;
  • MyPLAYER Clothing Capsule;
  • 10 MyTEAM League packs (delivered one per week);
  • 5 Heat Check packs (delivered one per week beginning at the start of the NBA season).

You can expect something similar for NBA 2K21 pre-orders.

NBA 2K21 Price

The standard version of NBA 2K21 will likely start at $59.99 without a deal. Special versions of the game will cost more.

The NBA 2K20 Digital Deluxe Edition retailed for $79.99 at launch. You can expect the same for this year’s deluxe edition. As for the Legend Edition, it retailed for $99.99 at launch.

Of course, you can expect a few deals before the game’s release date. Retailers often shave a few dollars off pre-orders.

Assuming it launches in September, the bulk of NBA 2K21 deals will likely arrive around Black Friday in November, the holidays in December, and in 2021 as we approach the release of NBA 2K22.

NBA 2K21 Features

Last year, like previous years, it took several months for 2K Sports and Visual Dynamics to run down NBA 2K20’s features. We’re hoping they’re a little more transparent this year, but we’re not holding our breath.

Right now, we know almost nothing about the game. That said, you can expect numerous improvements and changes including better graphics for the upcoming Xbox Series X and PS5.

We’ll update this post when we learn more about the game.

NBA 2K21 Cover

Last year, there were multiple NBA 2K20 cover athletes. Lakers star Anthony Davis graced the cover of the standard edition and Digital Deluxe Edition. Again, Dwyane Wade appeared on the Legend Edition.

We don’t know who will appear on the NBA 2K21 cover just yet, but you can expect multiple star players and an announcement sometime in May or June.

NBA 2K21 Prelude

2K Sports typically releases a short demo of the next NBA 2K game ahead of the official release date. The demo, dubbed Prelude, 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 Prelude to go live somewhere in the same time frame. It should also be a free download for most platforms.

NBA 2K21 Consoles

You can count on an NBA 2K21 release for current platforms, a list that includes the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia. Look for these platforms to share pre-order bonuses and release dates.

In Take-Two Interactive’s recent earnings report, NBA 2K21’s platforms are listed as “TBA.”

We could also see a release for Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Sony’s PlayStation 5 though if that happens you can expect the game to arrive later for those platforms.

We do not expect a release for legacy consoles like the Xbox 360 or PS3.

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 $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.

6 Reasons to Pre-Order Cyberpunk 2077 & 4 Reasons to Wait

Pre-Order for These Bonuses

Pre-Order for These Bonuses

If you pre-order a copy of Cyberpunk 2077, you'll get some nice bonuses. 

Everyone who pre-orders a copy of the game will get a collection of physical and digital items. Here's what you can expect if you buy a copy before the release date:

Physical Items

  • Case with game discs
  • World Compendium detailing the game's setting and lore
  • Postcards from Night City
  • Map of Night City
  • Stickers

Digital Items

  • Game soundtrack
  • Art booklet featuring a selection of art from the game
  • Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebook
  • Wallpapers for desktop and mobile

There are also some unique pre-order bonuses through retailers like GameStop and GOG. 

If you pre-order through GameStop you get a Samurai Medallion. The retailer says this offer is only available to PowerUp Rewards Members.

If you pre-order through GOG you get an exclusive digital game booklet, additional wallpapers and avatars, print quality posters, and 30% off official Cyberpunk 2077 merch store.

If any of these sound interesting to you, think about pre-ordering.

Last update on 2020-06-02. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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