NBA Live 21: Release date, PS5, trailer, EA Play, cover star, graphics, rosters, Ultimate Team, Career Mode, Xbox Series X, Next-Gen & more

It’s been a long wait for fans. Will we finally see a sequel from the EA Sports franchise?

Tom Young by Tom Young

NBA Live will be returning after a year hiatus, and with next-gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X on the horizon, it should be a fantastic game.

With EA and 2K competing over football game supremacy in 2021, it’s about time EA brought the fight to the basketball court once more.


These consoles won’t be debuting alone, either, with many games to release alongside them. Even after many games have been delayed due to coronavirus.

After the NBA Live 21 series took a year off without coronavirus, fans are wondering if and when it will be out.

Let’s go over what we know about 2K’s biggest competition.

Release Date

Whilst an official confirmation for the game has not yet been made by EA, looking at past releases we expect that any potential release would hit the shelves in September time.

READ MORE: Absolutely Everything we know about the PlayStation 5

However, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see EA miss out the current consoles (PS4 and Xbox One) and develop NBA Live 21 exclusively for the PS5 and new Xbox upon their release.


Again, we are unsure of the exact details surrounding the game but as it will be an EA release, any announcement is likely to come at the 2020 E3 Expo, which will be held in Los Angeles between June 9th and June 11th.

THROWBACK: The NBA Live 19 trailer was released on June 9, 2018

Should an expected release be announced, we can expect a trailer for the game to drop in the opening days of July and with EA having a year to get the game back to where they want it – expect fireworks.

Cover Star

As is the case with many competing franchises, such as FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer, there is always a battle to have the biggest and best players in the game on your cover.

TRUST THE PROCESS: Who will follow in the footsteps of Joel Embiid?

NBA Live has had a number of different stars on their cover in recent years, with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid fronting their last release (NBA Live 19).

Given the fact that 2K have stormed ahead of NBA Live in the basketball market, we expect they will go after a BIG name player for their next cover.

EA Play to confirm details?

We’ve seen many event cancellations in the gaming sphere over coronavirus quarantine. It looks like EA will break the mold by going through with their own scheduled for 11 June.

ea play confirmed

You can look over what we expect for NBA Live 21 at EA Play here.

What do we need to see on NBA Live 21?

Whilst we agreed with EA’s decision to take a year off in order to get their basketball sim back on track, having had a year out, people will be expecting big things.


We’ll begin with graphics and after facing backlash for their regression of in-game visuals, NBA Live’s competitor NBA 2K stepped it up this year and released the best graphics that a basketball sim has ever seen.

COMPETITION: Live’s graphics will always face pressure from NBA 2K

But what about NBA Live?

Well, there have been some leaked images of what NBA Live 20’s visuals were set to look like before the game was pulled and if they are anything to go by, then NBA Live 21 could very well trump 2K in this department.


This is a really simple one but one which will please plenty of NBA Live fanatics and that is the updated rosters which will come on NBA Live 21.

REDUNDANT: NBA Live 19’s roster is now well out of date

Those who prefer the Live franchise over 2K have had to stick with NBA Live 19 for the past 18 months due to a no-show for NBA Live 20, however, the downfall with that is an out of date roster.

NBA Live 21 will see all the players turn out for their current franchises, something which is part and parcel with a new sports game yet something which will please you Live gamers no end.

A MyTEAM competitor

One of the biggest challenges for the latest release of NBA Live is to ensure that there is a real competitor for NBA 2K’s MyTEAM.

THE ULTIMATE: Can EA conjure up a competitor for 2K’s MyTeam?

The issues surrounding MyTEAM – such as the gambling connotations and the perceived ‘pay-to-win’ nature of the game – means that should EA offer a suitable alternative, players may be willing to make the change.

Past editions of the game has seen the game mode ‘Live Ultimate Team’ take center stage for EA’s gamers, if they can put the same effort into their basketball sim as they do their football sim, EA could be on to a winner.

Ultimate Team

To compete with MyTEAM, EA’s going to need to step things up in several areas.

By avoiding some of the big issues with MyTEAM like out of position players, NBA Live could be well on their way to fighting 2K’s biggest series for the market. With some other fresh new takes on the game mode, Ultimate Team could completely overtake MyTEAM.

That is as long as the gameplay stands up to the standards of a 2-year development window.

Career Mode

Now whilst we LOVE the career mode on NBA 2K20, NBA Live 19 had a very impressive career mode of their own in their last title.

THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE: The last career mode on NBA Live 19 was a success

Their ‘The One’ story-lined career mode was similar to that of NBA 2K and whilst it wasn’t the most original idea, it was certainly effective.

If NBA Live can incorporate some fresh ideas and a well-written storyline into their 21 title, it could be a game-changer.


Whilst the majority of gamers worldwide will opt for Xbox or a PlayStation, there has always been the feeling from those PC gamers have it best.

Well, that may be set to change with the release of the PS5 and new Xbox due to the impressive specifications that both boast ahead of their winter release.

WHAT NEXT? Can Live have a resurgence on Next-Gen?

How will that affect NBA Live? Well as we have speculated upon earlier in this piece, there is a feeling amongst the community that NBA Live 20 was deliberately sacrificed in order to ensure a top-end first release on the Next-Gen consoles.

READ MORE: Absolutely Everything we know about Xbox Series X

Could the PS5 and Xbox Series X see NBA Live finally get one over on 2K? Only time will tell.

EA Sports and 2K Games clash

While EA Sports has tried to compete for 2K’s hold on the NBA game market, the two companies have also feuded over supremacy in football. EA Games lost exclusivity with the NFL this year, and 2K Games have signed a deal with the league in the meantime to come compete for that slot.

With the company rivalry pushing to new heights, we can expect a stellar release for NBA Live 21.


One feature that would do NBA Live, or any other sports title for that matter, the world of good is the inclusion of cross-platform gaming.

LEADING FROM THE FRONT: Fornite has set the bar for cross-platform gameplay

It is something which gamers have been crying out for for years, the ability to take your NBA Live team and take on the best players out there, regardless of platform, will make the game far more competitive.

But what would this mean for modes such as Live Ultimate Team? Would marketplaces and competitions remain specific to each console or would we see one marketplace that would cover all the consoles?

Only time will tell.

READ MORE: Absolutely Everything you need to know about FIFA 21

Tom Young