Like clockwork, NBA 2K23 launches every September and reignites the age-old debate of who’s overrated, who’s underrated, and how the series’ latest iteration feels according to the passionate fandom. This year, NBA 2K23 muddies those waters in an interesting way. Not only will players take the court with modern superstars like Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, but they’ll also be able to travel back to the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s and play as legends like Bird, Duncan, and Iverson. For more on these new features, as well as details on the NBA 2K23 release date, preorder details, and more, here’s everything we know so far about NBA 2K23.
NBA 2K23 release date
Visual Concepts’ sim launches just before the real NBA season does every year, and this fall, that means you can find it in stores on September 8 for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, PS4, and PC. For what seems like the first time in a while, there’s no way to unlock early access for the game, despite the number of different editions of the game we’ve outlined below.
Now Playing: NBA 2K23: First Look Trailer
The reveal of a sports game’s cover star is always a topic of conversation, and NBA 2K is a series that often gives the cover treatment to several stars each year. This year, there are three different covers showcasing four total athletes.
On the game’s most common cover, Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker can be seen making a layup. On the game’s WNBA Edition, it’s another Phoenix star, Diana Taurasi, alongside Seattle Storm standout Sue Bird, who will share the cover. There’s also a more expensive version of the game, which we’ll cover in detail below in the preorder section, that features the greatest of all time, Michael Jordan.
What’s new in NBA 2K23?
Annual sports sims are often fairly critiqued for feeling stagnant year to year, but to give credit where it appears due, NBA 2K23 is poised to add several new features to its suite of modes.
This year’s MyNBA mode, which is the series’ take on a seasons-long Franchise mode, lets players jump backward in time to as long ago as 1983. Across four distinct starting points–the Jordan era, the Shaq era, the Kobe era, and modern day, players can alter the past and future of the NBA forever. Trade Magic Johnson to the Bucks, draft Michael Jordan with the Celtics. The choices are yours to make, and your actions will ripple out over years to come as you play season after season. For an in-depth look at this mode, check out our recent MyNBA Eras preview.
The Jordan Challenge returns
For the first time since its debut in NBA 2K11, The Jordan Challenge is back. This time, it’s growing not just in size–from 10 challenges to 15–but also in how immersive the mode will be. Like in MyNBA Eras, reliving Jordan’s games from the ’80s and ’90s will include visual filters and other touches to put players in the right time and place. Period-specific arenas and advertisements as well as old-fashioned broadcasts down to the on-screen scoreboard and exclusive commentary teams are all included.
None of these cool historical modes matter much if the on-court gameplay is lacking, but Visual Concepts believes it’s figured out the cure for what ailed last year’s perimeter-heavy game. New shooting mechanics will create more separation between the game’s mediocre shooters and its elite marksmen, meaning you’ll need to play well at all levels on offense and won’t be able to simply rely on hitting open shots.
Meanwhile, a greater sense of power and paint dominance should give players more ways to win than just draining threes like the Warriors. This year’s game is inspired by the way Giannis Antetokounmpo plays, so read our feature to better understand how you can play like The Greek Freak in 2K23.
Like most sports games, your choice of which version to pick up consists of several different editions, with each pricier one growing in its added content, all the way up to a sold-out version that includes a year of NBA League Pass, which grants live access to all NBA games all season long.
We’ve already got a complete primer on the game’s many versions, so if you’re ready to preorder it, use our NBA 2K23 preorder guide to consider the many bonus items on offer, and pick up the game on the platform and in the version that’s right for you.