NBA Playgrounds

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NBA Playgrounds
NBA Playgrounds.jpg
Developer(s)Saber Interactive
Publisher(s)Mad Dog Games
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
ReleaseMay 9, 2017
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer

NBA Playgrounds is a 2017 sports video game developed by Saber Interactive and published by Mad Dog Games for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and for Microsoft Windows. Bearing similarities to previous related titles such as NBA Jam and NBA Street, NBA Playgrounds is an arcade-style basketball game officially licensed by the National Basketball Association.


NBA Playgrounds includes a roster of both active and former NBA stars. Both local and online multiplayer modes are included in the game, although local mode requires an internet connection to function on PS4.[1]

Players fill up a roster of players by playing different modes to earn packs. In Tournament Mode, players play four games with challenges with each iteration. Once the tournament is completed, players unlock a court and a gold pack. There is an online mode and exhibition, where players can play to upgrade themselves to bronze, silver, and gold. Players can also get a pack for leveling up both their offline level and their online level. If a player wanted to simply have all of the players right away, you could pay for the game's complete roster.


Online features were not ready at launch day for the Nintendo Switch version due to technical issues, with a promise from the developer who said it would be ready in a few days.[2] Despite this, Nintendo Switch online services were still not operating two weeks past the launch date.[3] Saber Interactive, developers of the game, announced on July 1st[4] that players who purchased the game before the implementation of online service would receive a copy of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.[5] Online features arrived on the Nintendo Switch with the next update in the following month along with extra content.[6] Additional free content was added later in the summer.[7]

On October 4, 2017, Saber Interactive released the game's first DLC pack, titled "Hot 'N Frosty." The DLC introduces three new courts with their own tournament and single-player mode. [8]

On January 4, 2018, Saber Interactive launched NBA Playgrounds: Enhanced Edition for the Nintendo Switch, superseding the original launch version on the Nintendo eShop. The Enhanced Edition included all previous game updates, 100 additional NBA players, and a three-point shooting mode. Additionally, the Enhanced Edition includes various technical fixes. Because of this, the Enhanced Edition is a separate download rather than a patch for the launch version. Players who purchased the launch version can download the Enhanced Edition for free and can transfer their save files to it before deleting the old version. Saber Interactive celebrated the launch of the Enhanced Edition with a 50% sale.[9]


Aggregate score
Metacritic(PS4) 68/100[10]
(PC) 67/100[11]
(XONE) 66/100[12]
(NS) 63/100[13]
Review scores
Nintendo Life7/10 stars[16]

NBA Playgrounds received a largely mixed critical reception, earning a 6/10 from GameSpot[14] and a 7.4/10 from IGN.[15]

Nintendo Life gave the title a 7/10, praising the online and local multiplayer gameplay, but criticized the slow pace of the single-player mode and poor odds of card packs. They recommended the game only for the Nintendo Switch as it is the only basketball title available platform at the time.[16]

By July 2017, the game sold 500,000 units across all platforms.[7] It was nominated for "Game, Original Sports" at the National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards.[17][18]


A sequel, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, which was to be published by 2K Sports was announced in July 2018.[19]

In May 2018, NBA Playgrounds 2 was delayed past its original release date of May 22, 2018. The release date was later pushed back to October 15, 2018, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. It has since been released on the aforementioned platforms through 2K Sports.


  1. ^ "Official NBA Playgrounds Forums". Retrieved August 8, 2017.
  2. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 4, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Features Full Online Play on Switch, A Few Days After Launch". Nintendo Life. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 22, 2017). "There's Still No Date for the All-Important NBA Playgrounds Update on Switch eShop". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  4. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (May 27, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Developer Promises a 'Huge Announcement' on 1st June". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  5. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (June 2, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Switch Early Adopters to Get Free Copy of Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn". Nintendo Life. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Whitehead, Thomas (July 10, 2017). "The Nintendo Switch Update for NBA Playgrounds is Now Live". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Vogel, Mitch (July 25, 2017). "More Free Content Is on the Way to NBA Playgrounds". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Treese, Tyler (October 4, 2017). "New NBA Playgrounds Update Launches Alongside Paid DLC". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved October 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Reseigh-Lincoln, Dom (January 4, 2018). "NBA Playgrounds Ups Its Game With New Enhanced Edition Update". Nintendo Life. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  11. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  12. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "NBA Playgrounds for Nintendo Switch Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Hester, Blake (May 11, 2017). "A shoot and a miss". GameSpot. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Becotte, Chase (May 9, 2017). "NBA Playgrounds Review". IGN. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  16. ^ a b Bowling, Steve (July 28, 2017). "Review: NBA Playgrounds". Nintendo Life. Retrieved July 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  18. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  19. ^