NBA 2K21 Buying Guide: Review, Editions, Features, Release Date, Latest News & more

This article contains information about the 'release-date' of either a movie, game or product. Unless stated explicitly, release dates are speculative & subject to change. See something wrong? Contact us here

NBA 2K21 is in full swing, so there's no time like the present to get in on the action.

2K has released a number of different editions, and there will also be a next-gen version incoming for Holiday 2020.

Let's take a look at what you get in each version, and which one you should go for!

Latest News - Our NBA 2K21 Review Is IN!

NBA 2K21 has arrived, and we've had some time to get our first impressions of the game so far.

With this, we've evaluated the new features for NBA 2K21, and our review in progress is here!

The Release Date Gap

nba2k21 release date
expand image

WE KNOW THE FEELING - Zion's face matches many fans trying to assess each version of NBA 2K21 ahead of the release date gap

NBA 2K21, like many major titles heading to next-gen consoles, is facing the unique problem of a release date gap between release day and the release window for next-gen consoles. NBA 2K21 is here, but next-gen consoles aren't expected until Holiday 2020.

This means fans who are waiting for the game's release will be forced to choose between picking up the current-gen Standard Edition, waiting to pick up the next-gen Standard Edition, or spending even more to pick up the Mamba Forever Edition and cover both bases.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Cover: Kobe Bryant Mamba Forever Edition, Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson & more

Let's go over the pros and cons of your options, and evaluate what we know so far.


NBA 2K21 is the first major title heading to next-gen consoles that has included a price jump from the standard $60 cost for a new game on current-gen consoles to $70 on next-gen.

This could very well set a precedent for the rest of the market, but as we have no evidence of this yet, NBA 2K21 stands as an outlier on price. Even when compared to other major sports titles making the leap like Madden 21 and FIFA 21, NBA 2K21 is the only game to make this change.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Graphics: PS5, Xbox Series X & more

So what are you getting for the price?

Let's break this down by looking over the 3 Editions of NBA 2K21 and what they offer.


Current-Gen Standard Edition

The current-gen Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 is the first playable version of the game, which is officially out now.

nba 2k21 announce cover everything
expand image

DAME - Damian Lillard fronts the cover for the current-gen version of the Standard Edition

Some important details to know about this Edition are that your progress for modes like MyLEAGUE and your MyPLAYER will not carry over to the next-gen editions.

This edition will also supposedly be missing some features that will be developed specifically for next-gen consoles, features that are used to justify the price jump from the current-gen Standard Edition's cost of $60 to the next-gen Standard Editions cost of $70.

Buy Now: NBA 2K21 Standard Edition on Amazon

Next-Gen Standard Edition

The Next-Gen Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 will be the version of NBA 2K21 specifically developed for next-gen consoles, including features exclusive to this Edition. It will come with the release of next-gen consoles which is currently expected to be around Holiday 2020.

nba 2k21 ps5 series x cover zion
expand image

THE ROOKIE - Zion Williamson has earned the cover spot for the next-gen version of the Standard Edition

This version of the Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 will cost $70, and will only carry over MyTEAM progress and VC from current-gen Standard Editions for the same console family (Xbox One to Xbox Series X, PS4 to PS5).

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Badges Wishlist: Pogo Stick, Quick Draw, Fancy Footwork & more

Both the current-gen and next-gen versions of the Standard Edition will come with the same suite of in-game rewards, including:

  • 5,000 VC
  • 5,000 MT
  • 10 MyTEAM Promo Packs
  • 9 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 5-pair Shoe Collection

Each edition will then however offer some more bonus content based on the cover stars, with a Damian Lillard Digital Collection for the current-gen version, and a Zion Williamson Digital Collection for the next-gen version.

Mamba Forever Edition

Along with the two versions of the Standard Edition of NBA 2K21, the Mamba Forever Edition comes as a deluxe package that functions much like the old Legends Edition, only it will include a copy of both versions of the Standard Edition as well.

nba 2k21 kobe next gen current 1
expand image

AN UNTOUCHABLE LEGACY - Both beautiful cover designs for the Mamba Forever Edition help capture the different eras of Kobe Bryant's dominance

This is only possible for one console family, however, which means if you're a PS4 owner looking to change things up by picking up the Xbox Series X, or vice-versa, the Mamba Forever Edition won't allow you both versions of the Standard Edition.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Soundtrack: Five new artists revealed

The Mamba Forever Edition for NBA 2K21 costs $100.

For this price, players get an enhanced suite of in-game rewards, including some extras that will come with next-gen consoles.

These rewards include:

  • 100,000 VC
  • 10,000 MT
  • 10 MyTEAM Tokens
  • 60 MyCAREER Skill Boosts
  • 30 Gatorade Boosts
  • 40 MyTEAM Promo Packs
  • Sapphire Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson MyTEAM cards
  • MyPLAYER Shoe Collection
  • MyPLAYER backpack
  • Kobe Bryant Digital Collection

And when next-gen consoles roll around, you will also receive two 72-hour 2x REP Boosts for MyTEAM.

BUY NOW: NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition on Amazon


To this point 2K Games has been quite vague as to what the next-gen version of the Standard Edition will actually bring to the table as exclusive features, the features used to justify the higher price point.

So far we only know the game will receive the enhanced loading screen speed that next-gen hardware will bring, some enhanced gameplay modes, and new gameplay features.

nba 2k21 cover athlete lillard
expand image

TAKE THE SHOT - Damian Lillard will no doubt be a threat from range no matter which version of NBA 2K21 you choose

We don't have confirmation how many of these changes will be accessible for the current-gen version of the Standard Edition, which will be playable on next-gen consoles via backward compatibility.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21: Is cross platform coming to 2K?

Less than two months out from current-gen release, this is a bit of a puzzle that fans are having to solve. At the least this is an inelegant situation in comparison to how other major sports developers are handling these issues, like EA offering Dual Entitlement for Madden 21 and FIFA 21 at no extra cost.

Which version is the best value?

Since NBA 2K21 has presented this complicated array of editions and features, let's go over which is the most valuable for players with different priorities.

Standard Editions

For players that simply can't wait the few months NBA 2K21 will be out on current-gen consoles before its next-gen debut, the current-gen Standard Edition will likely be worth it.

NBA 2K21 Zion Williamson Focused Still from PS5 Teaser Trailer
expand image

EVERY OPPONENT IN MyTEAM - The most dedicated players will resemble Zion after their first marathon on release day

If you think of the $60 as a time investment, and compare it to something like the cost of a movie theater trip (inadvisable during quarantine, mind you), you can probably average the value out to around $5 per entertainment hour.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 MyCAREER Wishlist: Changes, Features, Next Gen & more

For players that will play at least 12 hours of NBA 2K21 before next-gen release, something we expect many players to do in their first sitting, this will be a worthy purchase.

Mamba Forever Edition

The question for these types of players is whether the Mamba Forever Edition is then worth the extra cost to avoid having to purchase both versions of the Standard Edition, something that would cost $130 instead of the $100 for the Mamba Forever Edition.

NBA2k21 zion
expand image

RELEASE DAY FACE - Regardless of which version you choose, we'll all look like this come release

At the end of the day, players that value the extra couple months NBA 2K21 will be only playable on current-gen consoles and expect to play the game longer than this time period will find the Mamba Forever Edition the best value in the long run.

This is especially true for players who spend more time on their MyTEAM than on MyPLAYER and MyLEAGUE, as MyTEAM is the only mode that will carry over progress from current to next-gen. This also doesn't take into account the extra in-game bonuses that come from the Mamba Forever Edition.

READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Game Modes: MyTEAM, Park, MyLEAGUE & more

For players that don't meet these criteria, depending on preference, picking up either version of the Standard Edition will be the right choice. Though the next-gen version will likely be preferable due to the enhanced exclusive features.

This Article's Topics

Explore new topics and discover content that's right for you!

NBA 2KNext-Gen