NBA 2K – The History and Evolution

NBA 2K20
Photo: 2K Sports

The very first game was released in 1999, but Sega published it in 2004. It is believed they went on their own in 2005 2K Sports.

From that point onwards, they didn’t need SEGA or anyone else. 2K Sports releases a new game each year and it has reached greatness over the years. They are meant to imitate the real basketball game, being played in compliance with the NBA’s standard rules.

The game series has a glorious history and it’s worth taking some time to evaluate if you’re unfamiliar with its background and progression over the years.

Platforms & Prices

2K Sports launched the NBA in a wide range of console types. It is available for Dreamcast, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iOs, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.

The latest game 2K21 is available for PC, Xbox (One and the new Series X), PlayStation (4 and 5) and Nintendo Switch.
The game is listed at $59.99 on PC and console on the Playstation store, Microsoft and steam.

However, there are cheap cd keys websites that offer the game with huge discounts going up to 71% off the price for the RU version and $48 for the US.

If you go for the Russian version, you will need to use a VPN in order to play, otherwise you would still save 20% by comparing and buying the game from the cheapest merchant on Cdkeybay.

The first game

As we mentioned before, the very first NBA 2K game was developed in November 1999. The game was originally available to Dreamcast only.

The first-ever game cover celebrity was Allen Iverson. Fictional commentators were developed for about the first three matches, and the characters were Rod West and Bob Steel.

Rod Brooks and Bob Fitzgerald were playing the presenters. NBA 2K 1 was released in October 2000. While playing, you are also the club’s manager, and there is a difference between the two gameplay modes, which follow in progression.

More platforms offered from 2001 forward

NBA 2K2 was launched during the first part of 2002. The new version was released for Dreamcast together with GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2. Like in the two earlier editions, Iverson stayed the cover athlete. The newest version of the 2K NBA featured existing teams and players from the 01-02 NBA season and the highlights of former stars and their squads.

Some of the most popular of these included Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving and Bill Russell. 2K2 in the series is the last to be published for the Dreamcast platform, but it was still the first moment the series were available on different consoles.

NBA 2K3

NBA 2K3 was released in October 2002. It was made available for Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. This was the only time a title in the series was released for Title Cube. Allen Iverson also appeared as a cover athlete. 

Releases of 2003

ESPN NBA Basketball was the name granted to its next year’s creation in the franchise. This was made public in October and November 2003 and was limited to only two platforms, specifically Xbox and PlayStation 2. This was the first game that was made for a company that did not have a 2K difference in the naming.

This was one of the two NBA 2K games that ESPN had in their name. It was the fifth game in the series and it was the last time it would have Iverson on their cover. The players are far more dynamic, and, for the first time, the game featured a 24/7 mode for character building players. The pre-match programs would be presented by Kevin Frazier, Tom Tolbert and Bill Fitzgerald.

2K Sports takes over as publisher

NBA 2K 6 became the very first game to be released by 2K Games. It was introduced in November 2005 for Xbox, PlayStation 2, the first title in the series to be created for Xbox 360.

The covering player for this new game was Shaquille O’Neal alongside Kevin Harlan on action analyst and Kenny Smith and Craig Sager as a sports commentator and sideline journalist, respectively. It would be the group that was going to dominate the next two installments of the series too. 

The game kept growing

NBA 2K 7 was released in September 2006 for the same platforms, but it also included a PS3, the first in the series. It also happened to be the last title in the series to pop out for the original Xbox. NBA 2K 8 was launched in the autumn of 2007, featuring Chris Paul as a new player on the cover and added the Slam Dunk contest gaming experience for the first time, including a legal playlist of 23 tracks.

NBA 2K Online in June of 2008

The name was the outcome of a deal with Tencent. It was sold in an online edition and made public to the Asian market. It was the first of several Asian economies to come. The company was progressing with a significant follow-up.

NBA 2K9

2k 09 was released in October 2008 for PS 2, PS 3, Xbox 360 and the latest version for Win XP  & Win 7 was added. The player on the game cover was Kevin Garnett, with Harlan and Clar Kellogg as commentaries and Cheryl Miller as a sports reporter.

NBA 2K 10 and Kobe Bryant

The NBA 2K10 introduced the Black Mamba as a player on their cover. This system allowed a reborn career mode named MyPlayer. This element would stay implemented in all the next games that were about to come.

Supporters were able to vote for their favorite photos and this game was released with a number of prizes, including a Bryant statue.

NBA 2K 11+

NBA 2K11 was launched on the same systems as the previous version, but this time it included Michael Jordan as a player on their cover.

Many game mechanics and modes were introduced, all focusing on Jordan, such as the Jordan Challenge. It also created many fun multiplayer experiences. This game also featured some famous NBA stars and squads.

Between 2011 to 2019, the series continued to release the new games annually somewhere between September to November of every year.

Every game included four cover players along with a commentator team made of three persons and a sideline journalist. Companion Applications continued to be developed, and creativity progressed.

The NBA 2KVR Encounter is a virtual reality game launched in November 2016, but it did not belong to the main series. It was launched in PS VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive, together with Samsung Gear VR. The previous version was NBA 2K20, which was released in September 2019.

The last episode of the NBA 2K history was released days ago and from the hype it is causing, we can guess it is an epic game.

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