NBA 2K

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NBA 2K
Genres Sports
Developers Visual Concepts
Publishers Sega (1999–2004)
2K Sports (2005–present)
Platforms Various
Platform of origin Dreamcast
Year of inception 1999
First release NBA 2K
November 10, 1999
Latest release NBA 2K17
September 16, 2016

The NBA 2K series is a series of basketball simulation video games developed and released annually since 1999. The premise of each game in the series is to emulate the sport of basketball, more specifically, the National Basketball Association, and present improvements over the previous installments. The series was originally published by Sega, under the label Sega Sports, and is now published by 2K Sports. All of the games in the franchise have been developed by Visual Concepts. The series consists of eighteen main installments and several spinoff-style titles. It has seen releases on eighteen different platforms. The NBA 2K series has also been used in eSports. The series has consistently achieved critical and commercial success.

Gameplay[edit]

Each installment in the NBA 2K series strives to emulate the National Basketball Association, and present improvements over the previous installments. As such, gameplay simulates a typical game of basketball, with the player controlling an entire team or a select player; objectives coincide with the rules of basketball and presentation resembles actual televised NBA games. Various game modes have been featured in the series, allowing for gameplay variety. Numerous elements of the games feature customizable options. Each game features the teams and players from the current NBA season; historic NBA teams and players have also been featured, as have EuroLeague teams. Fictional players and teams can also be created and compiled.[1][2][3]

A staple of the series is its career mode, which has been described as a sports-themed role-playing video game. ESPN NBA Basketball was the first game in the series to feature such a mode, but it wasn't until NBA 2K10 and its successors that the mode became a more integral part of the series. The mode was initially titled 24/7, before being changed to MyPlayer, and settling on MyCareer. The modes center on the basketball career of the player's created player; the player customizes several aspects of their player and plays through their career in the NBA. Key events in the player's career are depicted, such as the draft and their retirement ceremony. A storyline is often present in the modes, and high school and college-level basketball has also been depicted. The player upgrades their player's attributes as they play, and can participate in off-court activities.[4][5][6][7][8]

Another mainstay of the series is a mode allowing the player to assume control of an NBA franchise, acting as general manager. The mode has been featured in numerous NBA 2K games and is often titled Association; the most recent games in the series feature the MyGM and MyLeague modes. In the modes, the player controls virtually all aspects of a team, rather than just playing games with the team. As the player simulates through seasons, they must satisfy the needs of the team's personnel and the owner.[9][10][11]

MyTeam mode, which was introduced in NBA 2K13, focuses on building a team of players and competing against other players' teams online. The player's primary venue for acquiring players for their team is card packs; the player purchases a card pack, which features random items the player can use in the mode, including players. In addition to compiling a select group of players, the player can also customize their team's jerseys and court, among other things. Other online-focused modes have also been featured in the series, such as Pro-Am, which focuses on players building a team together with their custom players.[12][13][14][15][16]

In addition to regulation NBA games, street basketball has been featured in numerous games in the series. Created players and real players can be used in such modes; additionally, some celebrities have made appearances as playable characters in the series.[17] In more recent games, the street basketball modes are titled Blacktop and MyPark. Blacktop is structured in the typical style of street basketball. MyPark consists of an open area filled with players who can join different games on different courts.[18][19] Several games in the series feature a mode which allows the player to hold a slam dunk contest.[20]

Several games in the series have featured game modes that are exclusive to that particular game. NBA 2K11 featured the Jordan Challenge mode, in which players are tasked with recreating some of Michael Jordan's most memorable feats, such as scoring 69 points in a single game.[21][22][23] NBA 2K12 featured the NBA's Greatest mode, where the player can play with past NBA players, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, and Bill Russell.[24][25] The PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows versions of NBA 2K14 featured a mode titled Path to Greatness; similar to the Jordan Challenge mode, it focuses on the career of LeBron James.[26]

Games[edit]

The NBA 2K series consists of eighteen primary installments and several spinoff-style titles. All of the games in the series have been developed by Visual Concepts; the first six games were published by Sega before the company sold Visual Concepts to Take Two Interactive, forming 2K Sports.

NBA 2K[edit]

The original NBA 2K was initially released in November 1999 for the Dreamcast. Allen Iverson is the cover athlete. The first four games in the NBA 2K series feature commentary from fictional announcers Bob Steele and Rod West, portrayed by Bob Fitzgerald and Rod Brooks respectively.[27][28]

NBA 2K1[edit]

NBA 2K1 was initially released in November 2000 for the Dreamcast. Iverson is again the cover athlete. NBA 2K1, among other things, introduces a mode which focuses on street basketball, and a mode which allows the player to act as the general manager of a team; most of the game's successors feature variations of the two modes.[29][30]

NBA 2K2[edit]

NBA 2K2 was released in late 2001 and early 2002 for Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. Iverson is the cover athlete for the third time. In addition to the regular players and teams from the 2001–02 NBA season, NBA 2K2 features several past players and their respective teams, including Bill Russell, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. NBA 2K2 is the first game in the series to be released for multiple platforms, and the last to be released for Dreamcast.[31][32]

NBA 2K3[edit]

NBA 2K3 was initially released in October 2002 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and GameCube. It is the second and final game in the series to be released for GameCube. Iverson is once again the cover athlete.[33][34]

ESPN NBA Basketball[edit]

ESPN NBA Basketball was released in October and November 2003 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles. It is the only game in the series to not feature "2K" in the title, and one of two in the series to feature ESPN branding, both in the title and in the game itself. For the fifth and final time, Iverson is the cover athlete. The game introduces 24/7 mode, a career mode in which the player can create a customizable character and use them to compete in basketball tournaments and other competitions. Online game modes are also present, a first for the series, and each player has a unique facial design, also a first. The game features a commentary team consisting of Bill Fitzgerald and Tom Tolbert; Kevin Frazier hosts pre-game shows.[35][36]

ESPN NBA 2K5[edit]

ESPN NBA 2K5 was first released in September 2004 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox. It is the last game in the series to be published by Sega before the company sold Visual Concepts to Take Two Interactive, forming 2K Sports. Ben Wallace is the cover athlete. It is the second and final game in the series to feature ESPN branding. The game features Stuart Scott as a presenter, Bob Fitzgerald and Bill Walton as commentators, and Michele Tafoya as a sideline reporter.[37][38]

NBA 2K6[edit]

NBA 2K6 was initially released in September 2005 for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and, for the first time, Xbox 360. It is the first game in the series to be published by 2K Sports. Shaquille O'Neal serves as the game's cover athlete; he was also involved in some of the game's motion capture development.[39][40] In NBA 2K6, Kevin Harlan is the play-by-play commentator, Kenny Smith is the color commentator, and Craig Sager is the sideline reporter.[41] The next two installments in the series feature the same team.

NBA 2K7[edit]

NBA 2K7 was initially released in September 2006 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, and Xbox 360. It is the first game in the series to be released for the PlayStation 3, and the last to be released for the original Xbox. O'Neal returns as the cover athlete.[42] NBA 2K7 is the first game in the series to feature a licensed soundtrack; the previous games featured music produced exclusively for the games. The soundtrack, which was compiled by Dan the Automator, consists of 13 songs, and was also released in CD format as Dan the Automator Presents 2K7.[43][44]

NBA 2K8[edit]

NBA 2K8 was initially released in October 2007 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Chris Paul is the game's cover athlete.[45][46][47] The game introduces the Slam Dunk Contest game mode.[48] The soundtrack consists of 23 licensed songs.[49][50]

NBA 2K9[edit]

NBA 2K9 was initially released in October 2008 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and, for the first time in the series, Microsoft Windows.[51] Kevin Garnett is featured as the game's cover athlete.[52] The commentary team consists of Harlan and Clark Kellogg, with Cheryl Miller serving as sideline reporter.[53] The soundtrack consists of 24 licensed songs and one original song.[54][55]

NBA 2K10[edit]

NBA 2K10 was initially released in October 2009 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable (a first), Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Wii (also a first). Kobe Bryant is the game's cover athlete.[56] Fans were able to vote for which image they favoured out of four to be used on the cover.[57] The game features a reincarnated career mode titled MyPlayer, which would become a staple of the future games in the series, later being retitled as MyCareer.[58] Harlan and Kellogg return as commentators, while Doris Burke replaces Miller as sideline reporter.[59] The licensed soundtrack consists of 30 songs.[60] In edition to the standard release, a limited edition version of the game, titled NBA 2K10: Anniversary Edition, was also released; it included several bonuses, such as a Bryant figurine manufactured by McFarlane Toys.[61][62] A demo of sorts was released on PlayStation Network and Xbox Live prior to the release of the main game in August 2009, titled NBA 2K10 Draft Combine. It features Derrick Rose as its cover athlete and allows the player to compete in activities related to the main game's MyPlayer mode.[63][64]

NBA 2K11[edit]

NBA 2K11 was released in October 2010 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Microsoft Windows. Michael Jordan is the game's cover athlete, and the game features several modes focusing on Jordan.[65] One such mode is "The Jordan Challenge", a mode in which the player must recreate ten of Jordan's most memorable career achievements, such as scoring 69 points in a game.[21][22][23] NBA 2K11 also introduces historic NBA teams and players.[66] The game features the same presenters as NBA 2K10. The soundtrack consists of 27 licensed songs.[67][68]

NBA 2K12[edit]

NBA 2K12 was released in October 2011 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Windows, and, for the first time, iOS.[69] With three different covers, NBA 2K12 is the first game in the series to feature multiple cover athletes. The cover athletes are Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Jordan.[70][71] The game introduces the "NBA's Greatest" mode, where players use a wide range of historic players and teams.[24][25] Steve Kerr joins Harlan and Kellogg in the commentary booth, and Burke returns as sideline reporter. The same team is present in the next three games in the series. A demo of NBA 2K12 was released prior to the release of the main game.[72] The soundtrack consists of 28 licensed songs. Regarding the soundtrack, a contest was held, the winners of which would contribute to the soundtrack with an original song.[73][74]

NBA 2K13[edit]

NBA 2K13 was initially released in October 2012 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, iOS, Android, and Microsoft Windows. A version for Wii U was released as a launch title in November 2012. The game's cover features Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, and Rose.[75] Jay Z is credited as executive producer of the game; among other things, he curated the soundtrack, which consists of 22 songs.[76][77]

NBA 2K14[edit]

NBA 2K14 was initially released in October and November 2014 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Android. LeBron James serves as cover athlete; he also curated the soundtrack, which features 20 licensed songs.[78][79] NBA 2K14 introduces EuroLeague teams.[80]

NBA 2K15[edit]

NBA 2K15 was initially released in October 2014 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS. Durant serves as cover athlete.[81] NBA 2K15 introduces pre-game shows presented by Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O'Neal.[82] One new feature concerns player creation; the player is now able to scan their own face into the game.[83] The soundtrack, which consists of 27 licensed songs, was curated by Pharrell Williams.[84]

NBA 2K16[edit]

NBA 2K16 was released worldwide on September 29, 2015 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. A version for Android and iOS was released on October 14, 2015. The game features seven different covers with eight cover athletes: Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Jordan, Pau and Marc Gasol, Dennis Schröder, and Tony Parker.[85][86][87][88][89] NBA 2K16's mid-game commentary team remains the same, except Kerr has been replaced by Greg Anthony. The pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows now feature the returning Kenny Smith, in addition to Johnson and O'Neal.[90][91] Director Spike Lee worked on the MyCareer mode.[92] The soundtrack, which features 50 songs, was curated by DJ Khaled, DJ Premier, and DJ Mustard.[93] A companion app featuring Paul George on the cover and developed by Cat Daddy Games was released alongside the game.[94]

NBA 2K17[edit]

NBA 2K17 was released worldwide in September 2016 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Android, and iOS.[95][96] The game features four different cover athletes, George, Bryant, Danilo Gallinari, and Pau Gasol.[97] NBA 2K17 still features a three-person commentary team and one sideline reporter, but the personnel has been overhauled. Seven different commentators are present, namely Harlan, Kellogg, Anthony, Burke, Brent Barry, Chris Webber, and Steve Smith, while David Aldridge replaces Burke as sideline reporter. The pre-game, halftime, and post-game presentation trio remains unchanged.[98] The game's soundtrack was compiled by Grimes, Imagine Dragons, and Noah Shebib, and features 50 songs.[99] A demo of sorts, titled The Prelude, was released prior to the release of the main game.[100] A companion app featuring Karl-Anthony Towns on the cover was also released.[101]

NBA 2KVR Experience[edit]

On November 22, 2016, a virtual reality NBA 2K title was released. Titled NBA 2KVR Experience, the game is a collection of basketball mini-games and is not part of the main series. It is available for PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Samsung Gear VR.[102][103]

NBA 2K18[edit]

NBA 2K18 was officially confirmed in January 2017 and is set for release in September 2017. It will be the first game in the series to be released for the Nintendo Switch;[104][105][106] it will also be released for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Microsoft Windows. Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the cover athlete.[107][108] The special edition versions of the game, which include various physical and digital extras, again feature Shaquille O'Neal as the cover athlete.[109][110][111]

Reception[edit]

The NBA 2K series has achieved consistent critical and commercial success. Elements of the series that are frequently praised include its presentation, specifically its commentary, attention to detail, and soundtrack, its abundance of content, its overall gameplay, and its consistency in terms of yearly releases without any drastic dips in quality. Technical issues have plagued many of the releases, however, particularly in regards to the online components. The introduction of microtransactions into the series has also been scrutinized, while the story-focused incarnations of the MyCareer mode have received mixed responses.[112][113] Numerous games in the series have been lauded for being among the highest-quality sports games available, especially in comparison with other basketball games, such as the NBA Live series, published by EA Sports.[1][2][3]

Specifically concerning sales, the NBA 2K series has established itself as one of the better-selling video game franchises. A May 2014 earnings call reported that games in the series have sold over 17 million copies worldwide.[114] A report in February 2017, however, suggested that games in the franchise have sold in excess of 68 million copies.[115] According to one analyst, the most recent entries in the series average at least four million copies sold.[1] The best-selling game in the series is NBA 2K14, which sold over seven million copies; it is also Take-Two Interactive's best-selling sports game.[116][117] NBA 2K16 holds the distinction of being the fastest-selling title in the series, shipping over four million copies within its first week of release.[118][119]

Games in the NBA 2K series have been nominated for multiple awards, from events such as the Spike Video Game Awards and The Game Awards, usually related to being the best sports game of the year.[120][121][122]

NBA 2K eLeague[edit]

In February 2017, the NBA, in conjunction with Take-Two Interactive, announced the creation of an eSports league centering on the NBA 2K franchise. Known as the NBA 2K eLeague, it is set to commence competition in 2018. It is the first eSports league to be operated by a North American professional sports league. The league will be structured similarly to the NBA; teams are operated by NBA franchises and feature five professional eSports players. The teams compete against each other in the most recent NBA 2K game, and each member of a team only uses their in-game MyPlayer. The league will feature a regular season, as well as the playoffs and finals.[123][124][125]

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