NBA 2K21 Release Date & Features: 10 Things to Know
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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 a few days from now when 2K Sports and Visual Concepts releases a brand new entry in the long-running series.

We don’t know everything about NBA 2K21, but details are still trickling out as we approach the game’s release date for current and next-gen 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.

  1. NBA 2K21 Consoles
  2. NBA 2K21 Covers
  3. NBA 2K21 Release Date
  4. NBA 2K21 Editions
  5. NBA 2K21 Pre-Order Bonuses
  6. NBA 2K21 Features
  7. NBA 2K21 Demo
  8. NBA 2K21 Mobile
  9. NBA 2K21 Microtransactions
  10. NBA 2K21 PC Requirements

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 next-gen platforms which includes Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox Series X and Sony’s brand new PlayStation 5.

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

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 the PS5 should 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.

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
  • 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.
  • Physical copies of NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition for PlayStation 4 will include a digital copy of NBA 2K21 Standard Edition for PlayStation 5 in box.
  • This edition includes 100,000 Virtual Currency, 10,000 MyTEAM points, MyTEAM packs, digital items for your MyPLAYER, and more!
  • Note: There will be two inserts in PS4 Mamba edition physical product. One code is for the Mamba edition content (VC, MyTeam packs, etc.), this slip is titled Damian Liliard & Zion Williams Digital Collection. The second code is for the NG game code and VC, this slip is titled PS4 Digital Items 2K21 for PS5. Both codes can be redeemed through the normal console process
  • First party codes are provided and redeemed through their storefronts. PlayStation codes are 12 digits

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’ve seen a few deals emerge ahead of the game’s release date, but 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.

For more on NBA 2K21 deals, please check out our guide. It’ll take you through the best offers available to you right now.

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 once 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 many 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 over on the NBA 2K21 blog so be sure to check it out.

Erick Boenisch, executive producer at Visual Concepts, has posted a blog of his own and it goes over the changes coming to NBA 2K’s popular MyTEAM mode.

Of note, if you buy the game for PS4 or Xbox One and then decide to upgrade to the PS5 or Xbox Series X this fall, your entire collection and progress will carry over once you start playing the next-gen version of the game.

Other highlights include a new Seasons concept, a new mode called MyTeam Limited, a new feature called The Exchange, Badge Customization, Customizable Evolutions, a new prizing mechanism called Ascension, MyTeam Promo Packs, Signature Challenges, and a whole lot more.

2K has also confirmed a few details about the new Neighborhood and MyCAREER modes. You’ll be able to run in the park at 2K Beach and you’ll also be able to take your character from HS to college to the NBA.

It also looks like Manu Ginobili, a Spurs legend who wasn’t included in NBA 2K20, might be making a return in NBA 2K21. Evidence has surfaced in suggested player archetype builds in the NBA 2K21 demo.

2K’s 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 on 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’s released a demo for Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch. The demo is a free download for everyone, not just those who pre-order a copy of the full game.

For more the NBA 2K21 demo, check out our guide.

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.

2K’s released the companion app for NBA 2K21 dubbed My NBA2K21. Like its predecessors, it’s free for both iOS (iPhone, iPad) 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.

So far, we know that NBA 2K21 will include a Shared VC Wallet within the same console family (PS4 to PS5, Xbox One to Xbox Series X).

According to 2K, this means that any of your earned or purchased VC is accessible across both current and next-generation versions of NBA 2K21 in the same console family.

NBA 2K21 PC Requirements

If you plan on playing NBA 2K21 on a Windows PC, you’ll need to take note of the game’s minimum and recommended spec requirements.

Here’s what those look like:

NBA 2K21 Minimum PC Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit / Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-530 / AMD FX-4100
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GTS 450; ATI HD 7770
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 80 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Directx 9.0x

NBA 2K21 Recommended PC Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit / Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-4430 / AMD FX-8370
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: nVidia GTX 770; ATI R9 270
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Storage: 80 GB available space
  • Sound Card: Directx 9.0c

If your PC doesn’t meet the minimum requirements, the game will run poorly. In some cases, it might not even run at all. Keep that in mind before you put in a pre-order.

3 Reasons to Pre-Order NBA 2K21 & 5 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 once 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 2020-09-27. This post may contain affiliate links. Click here to read our disclosure policy for more details. Images via Amazon API

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