NBA 2K21 has already become an innovator for several things heading to next-gen consoles, and many have been met with pushback from fans.
One of the more controversial points is how the series is splitting its current and next-gen editions, and how these will be priced.
Let’s go over what we know so far about NBA 2K21, what it will offer on next-gen editions, and whether it’ll be worth it for you.
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 coming on 4 September, but next-gen consoles aren’t expected until Holiday 2020.
This creates a time where 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.
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, for the prices we know on games like Madden 21 and FIFA 21, NBA 2K21 is the only game to bump up the price.
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.
READ MORE: NBA 2K21 Graphics: PS5, Xbox Series X & more
Current-Gen Standard Edition
The current-gen Standard Edition of NBA 2K21 will be the first playable version of the game, available on the current release date of 4 September.
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.
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.
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).
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 extra content according to 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.
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.
The Mamba Forever Edition for NBA 2K21 will cost $100.
For this price, players will 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
If you pre-order the Mamba Forever Edition, you will also receive the Damian Lillard Digital Collection and Zion Williamson Digital Collection that come with each respective version of the Standard Edition.
And when next-gen consoles roll around, you will also receive two 72-hour 2x REP Boosts for MyTEAM.
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.
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.
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.
READ MORE: NBA 2K21: Is cross platform coming to 2K?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leon Joseph is just a few years into his journalist career, but has already had pieces published in many major publications including Tech Crunch and the Game Spot. In regards to academics, Leon earned a degree in business from Texas State. Leon has passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in the gaming industry.