NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (2023)

NBA 2K is a long-running genre that has a lot of security in it. Every year, everyone knows that there will be another one. Most of the time, each sport has a main game that everyone associates with it. Football has Madden, soccer (or football depending on where you live) has FIFA, and hockey has the NHL game series. Basketball has two: NBA 2K created by 2K Sports and NBA Live created by EA Sports. So which one is better?

In this article, the examples are comparing NBA2K 19 and NBA Live 19. While NBA2K20 has dropped, NBA Live 20 has been delayed until later this year. So, while we can’t compare those, we can see how these two have stacked up in the past.

RELATED: The 10 Best Offbeat Sports Titles


10 Depth

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (1)

These two games have very opposite levels of depth in the story. NBA 2K prides itself on its depth. Its created for the most devoted basketball fans and is a difficult game for the casual fan. It's considered a simulation-style game, much like Madden. You can create your own player and run through a campaign.

NBA Live takes a lighter approach. It's been described as a more arcade-like approach, made simpler for the casual fan. NBA Live has a campaign as well, but it is much shallower. The arcade description really rings true as its less about your personal journey and more like going from level to level.

9 NBA Live Has the WNBA

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (2)
(Video) this is why NBA LIVE is BETTER than NBA 2K..

NBA Live 19 lets you do some pretty decent customization on your own personal basketball player. It allows you to create a female player to compete in the Women’s Basketball Association (WNBA) as well! This is a breath of fresh air and of inclusivity. Too often women's sports are marginalized and ignored.

NBA 2K19 doesn’t offer this wonderful option. While the majority demographic of these specific games are men, a large number of women play sports and video games, as well. Even if you're looking at it from a business perspective and not an inclusive one, it just makes sense to reach out to an untapped demographic.

8 Faces and Models

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (3)

In a game full of famous players, one of the key selling points is being able to have your favorites on your dream team and play as them. Thus, it's very important that the faces and models of the players are as accurate as possible. While the advancement of technology has allowed us to make great strides, there are a few differences between NBA 2K and NBA Live.

NBA 2K has some problems with a few of their players, but the majority of these exist in their catalog of older players from earlier games. NBA Live, on the other hand, has a lot of issues with providing the proper proportions for their character models.

RELATED: NBA 2K20: The 10 NBA Legends Who Will Dominate, Ranked

7 Animation

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (4)

Second to how the players look is how they move. As we get better with motion capture technology and our graphic capabilities improve, we can improve not just how character models look, but how they move. Seeing your favorite players perform some of their signature moves on the virtual court is all part of the immersive experience.

NBA Live is behind the game a bit in this department, but, with the release of the 19 edition, they’ve done well in making the player’s movement look like they have weight and they are actually traveling across the ground. However, overall, NBA 2K19 has smoother animation and fewer glitches.

6 In-Game Physics

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (5)

This is the third most important thing in NBA Live and NBA 2K (or any sports game for that matter) and it is the physics. It's all well and good for the models to look good and for them move realistically, but, if the physics are broken, all of this is pointless.

This is a particularly difficult situation, as there are tons of moving and touching parts. The players are jostling each other, and the ball is constantly making contact with players. In the latest installations of the games, NBA 2K19 has edged out NBA Live 19 in reducing characters passing through each other, and the ball bounces with realism.

RELATED: NBA 2K20: The 10 NBA Legends Who Will Dominate, Ranked

5 A.I.

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (6)
(Video) NBA 2K19 vs NBA LIVE 19 (Graphics/Gameplay/Game Modes/Commentary) Comparison | Which Game Is Better?

Multiplayer is a popular mode for players of both NBA 2K and NBA Live. However, grinding out players and items to use in multiplayer mode and the campaign mode will have you playing alone. This means instead of having 24 human players (12 on each team) on the court, it’ll be you and 23 A.I.s. Poor artificial intelligence programs will make this situation utter and absolute chaos; players will be bumping into each other, running continuously into the side of the court, or just running in circles around the court.

Both games have made huge strides in this area, but NBA 2K is hands down the better of the two. NBA Live’s A.I. moves erratically and with uncertainty, while NBA 2K’s A.I. learns your strategies to give a better challenge.

4 Balancing

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (7)

Balance is important in any video game. A game is simply no fun if it's too easy or too hard. Characters need to have A.Is that don’t perform perfectly but are not flawed either. In addition, these characters can’t be too strong or weak. Some would argue that this is more crucial in sports games. If the balance is off, then the realism and immersion are broken. People who play either game can agree that the players in both could use a little adjusting so that they play at a comparable skill level to their real-life counterparts.

NBA 2K is a far more technical game, while NBA Live is more focused on the fun. The latter game is also criticized for having an over-focus on offense while the former is better balanced.

RELATED: NBA 2K20: 10 Ratings That Are Way Too Low

3 Campaign Modes

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (8)

As mentioned in several sections, both of these games have a campaign mode. In both, you can create your own basketball player. NBA 2K’s mode is called MyCareer and is extremely in-depth. It's not all about playing basketball, though. Your avatar has to contend with the obstacles of working their way from playing basketball at the local park to playing on the team in front of crowds of adoring fans.

Your actions both on and off the court matter and shape your journey. Meanwhile, NBA Live’s The One tries to emulate this but doesn’t have the same impact and detail. You still have to work your way up but there aren’t any choices to be made.

2 Microtransactions

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (9)

Microtransactions are something that has become the bane of any gamer nowadays. Mobile, console, and PC are all trying to combat these invasive and shady tactics. EA has learned their lesson (for the most part) about blocking progress behind a paywall after their various scandals and backlash relating to the heavy usage in their games. Thus, NBA Live has the upper hand in this category.

NBA 2K, on the other hand, is treading thin ice. The game demands a large chunk of your time in order to unlock players and items, but it constantly tempts you with microtransactions in order to skip the long haul. Players already paid for the game, they shouldn’t have to keep paying to play.

1 Overall Presentation and Summary

NBA 2K Or NBA Live: Which Game is Actually Better? (10)
(Video) NBA Live Is Better Than 2K 😂 #nba2k23 #nba2k22 #nbalive19

Last but not least, is the overall presentation of both games. Let's begin with NBA 2K. This game has been around longer and more consistently, so they have had plenty of time to perfect their formula. They have some of the best face and motion capture animations in the sports game genre, as well as some of the best graphics. They are realistic looking, the A.I. is coordinated, and the actual games themselves are paired with life-like courts and commentators. Their campaign mode, MyCareer, is touted as one of the best in the business with its depth and detail.

NBA Live has been on a short break, but is back, hoping to make a splash. Its graphics are comparable, and its animations are smoother than previous editions. It lacks many of the details and realism of its competitor, but it does have little to no microtransactions, unlike NBA 2K.



Is 2K or NBA Live better? ›

For a basketball fan, NBA 2K wins hands down. One of the most important aspects in a basketball game are the shooting mechanics. In NBA 2K, all the players have their distinct shot release. Making adjustments off layups also has a tangible feel to it.

Which NBA 2K game has the best career mode? ›

Still, in spite of that massive issue (or maybe because other developers are just not taking career modes seriously enough), NBA 2K23 MyCareer wins the Operation Sports 2022 Award for Best Career Mode.

Is NBA Live Mobile worth it? ›

Consider NBA LIVE Mobile, EA's latest stab at hoops on the go. It looks great and plays better than you'd have any right to expect. Yet one curious choice dampens the fun and ratchets up the level of frustration considerably.

Is NBA 2K22 the best 2K? ›

NBA 2K22 is arguably the best playing game of simulation basketball that the 2K team has released in at least a generation. Offense and defense are much more balanced, a true skill gap has been established, and I think most veterans are really going to like the changes here.

Is NBA 2K worth playing? ›

NBA 2K23 has received mixed reviews, but this is not because the game is not worth your time. In terms of gameplay, the game is more or less the same as its predecessor. The MyCareer storyline has changed a little bit, but the user experience is the same. MyTeam is a little bit better, but 2K has not made many changes.

Is 2K enough for gaming? ›

2K and 4k monitors are simply great to look at. Unless you are really tight on budget, you should buy a higher resolution monitor and be set for another 3 to 5 years. Games will look sharper, and your productivity will increase because the higher resolution a monitor has, the more content it can display at once.

Will NBA 2K23 be better than 2K22? ›

The only thing that makes NBA 2K23 better than its predecessor, even if by just a little bit, is the inclusion of the excellent Jordan Challenge mode, a great love letter to the best player of all time.

Which 2K is considered the best? ›

The 20 Best NBA 2K Games, Ranked
  • 8 NBA 2K3 (2002) - 89.
  • 7 ESPN NBA Basketball (2003) - 89.
  • 6 NBA 2K11 (2010) - 89.
  • 5 NBA 2K12 (2011) - 90.
  • 4 NBA 2K13 (2012) - 90.
  • 3 NBA 2K17 (2016) - 90.
  • 2 NBA 2K1 (2000) - 93.
  • 1 NBA 2K2 (2001) - 93.
Sep 11, 2022

Can I skip the story in 2K23? ›

To make matters worse, you can't skip the story entirely. Even if you played through it on one build and were hoping to make a different one. As of this writing, you'll have to play through the entire story again.

Is NBA Live discontinued? ›

The last released installment to date was 2018's NBA Live 19. As of 2022, the series has been in an indefinite hiatus, and after the cancellations of NBA Live 20 and NBA Live 21, there has not been any official confirmation on whether or not more games would be developed.

Does NBA 2K Mobile cost money? ›

NBA 2K Mobile is a free basketball game and just one of the many titles brought to you by 2K including NBA 2K23, NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition, WWE 2K22, and much more!

How long does a 2K22 game last? ›

Gameplay Rules
How long does a game last?There are 4 quarters There are 6 minutes in each quarter Total: 24 minutes of in-game time
Point breakdownEach shot made inside of the arch is awarded two points and each shot made behind the arc is awarded three points
13 more rows

Who is the strongest team in 2K22? ›

  • Los Angeles Lakers. 79.4.
  • Brooklyn Nets. 78.2.
  • Phoenix Suns. 78.1.
  • Atlanta Hawks. 77.7.
  • New York Knicks. 77.6.
  • Indiana Pacers. 77.2.
  • Milwaukee Bucks. 77.1.
  • Philadelphia 76ers. 77.0.

Who is the best 2K22 player ever? ›

The NBA 2K22 ratings list sees a four-way tie for first place, with LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durand and Stephen Curry all sharing a hefty 96 OVR according to the game's default rosters.

Is NBA 2K23 pay to win? ›

“Most games are free to play, pay to compete. 2K is the only game I know that is pay to play AND pay to win/compete.”

Why is 2K better? ›

2K (QHD) Resolution

2K resolution is 2560 pixels horizontally and 1440 pixels vertically, compared to the 1920 x 1080 pixels from Full-HD Resolution. It is referred to as QHD because it has 4 times the pixels as 720p. These added pixels allow for a wider image and more detailed recording.

Is NBA 2K the same as NBA Live? ›

They're essentially identical modes in regard to it being a linear single-player structure, so they're easy to compare. Live's mode is much newer, and they've given a good attempt, but it's not as advanced and customizable as 2K's MyPlayer. However, MyPlayer is far from perfect in its own right.

Is 2K beginner friendly? ›

Though it's relatively beginner-friendly, every NBA 2K22 player could use a few tips and tricks. Here's how to start winning games fast.

Which is better 4K or 2K? ›

All told, that's 8,847,360 pixels, or 8.84 Mpx. Running the numbers, that means DCI 4K is 4.26 times the resolution of 1080p and exactly 4 times the resolution of 2K. The difference, as we mentioned above, is the aspect ratios of 1080p (16:9) and DCI 2K / 4K (17:9).

How old should you be to play 2K? ›

Is there an age restriction? Yes, in order to be eligible for playtests with 2K, you must be at least 18 years old.

Is NBA 2K23 worth buying? ›

NBA 2K23 is fun when it finally lets you play basketball, but compared to last year it feels worse. Sure the graphics have a new coat of paint on them and the scenery is beautiful with murals such as the late great Kobe Bryant and the BLM movement, but it still feels the exact same.

Will 2K23 have my career? ›

NBA 2K23 gives you the yearly upgrade to the tried and true basketball simulator we all know and love. Besides realistic graphics and updated shooting animations, NBA 2K23 has a wide range of game modes, including MyCareer.

Who is the highest rated player in 2K23? ›

  • LeBron James, Forward, Los Angeles Lakers: 98 OVR (+2) Whether you're a LeBron fan or not, there's no denying that he's one of the greatest players of all time. ...
  • Jrue Holiday, Guard, Milwaukee Bucks: 87 OVR: (+1) ...
  • Nicolas Claxton, Center, Brooklyn Nets: 85 OVR (+5)

Which 2K is the most realistic? ›

NBA 2K23 is easily and without a doubt the most realistic NBA 2K game I've ever played. I planned on putting a huge emphasis on dishing out details about the Jordan Challenge and experiencing the introduction of J.

How much will 2K23 cost when it comes out? ›

NBA 2K23 release date and price

NBA 2K23 will be released on September 9. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game cost $70, while the Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and PC versions cost $60. You can preorder the game now through all major retailers.

Which 2K23 is better? ›

For players that still have an older console, the Digital Deluxe Edition is the best option. This version provides all the perks from the Michael Jordan Edition, minus the 100,000 Virtual Currency. However, the Digital Deluxe Edition also gives gamers a free upgrade from PS4 to PS5, or from Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S.

Is Jordan a 100 overall in 2K23? ›

Michael Jordan on NBA 2K23

On NBA 2K23, this All-Time Version of Michael Jordan's 2K Rating is 99 and has an All-Around Threat Build. He has a total of 49 Badges in which 17 of them are Hall of Fame Level.

How long is 2K23 story mode? ›

Main Story312h 26m
All PlayStyles312h 26m

Why did EA cancel NBA Live? ›

However, on September 27, 2012, EA confirmed on their website that the game's launch has been cancelled due to the game's "disappointing" development. EA Vice President Andrew Wilson said the company would focus on the quality of the next year's title.

Why did they stop making NBA Live games? ›

In a future of new possibilities, players shouldn't be content with a game built for today's realities and based on what we know to be possible, we feel we can go so much further with the new design. So, we're not launching a new NBA LIVE HD product this season.

Is NBA 2K21 free forever? ›

NBA 2K21 is built from the ground up for next-gen and will feature new additions and improvements only possible on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. If I get NBA 2K21 for free via Epic, will I keep it forever? Yes.

Is NBA 2K20 still free? ›

NBA 2K20 is free for PlayStation Plus users until August 3. For PlayStation 4 owners, this is a noteworthy inclusion because Xbox owners were the only ones who got the chance to play the game for free last year.

Can you play 2K for free? ›

NBA 2K Mobile is a free basketball game and just one of the many titles brought to you by 2K including NBA 2K23, NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition, WWE 2K22, and much more!

Will NBA 2K22 have career mode? ›

Last year's introduction of the City was a big step toward making 2K an immersive, open-world basketball adventure. In NBA 2K22, the MyCAREER story takes place entirely within City limits, diving deeper into its many layers.

How much does NBA Live cost? ›

With on-demand access to around 40 live games per week and full-game replays, the service is the prime destination for NBA coverage. The service offers two primary subscription plans: NBA League Pass ($14.99 a month) and NBA League Pass Premium ($19.99 a month).

How long is NBA Live? ›

About a half hour. The average NBA game lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes, and the halftime break is 20 minutes.

Do I have to buy 2K22 twice? ›

A: Players that purchase the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle will receive both versions of NBA 2K22 across the PlayStation® or Xbox console family. So using Sony PlayStation® as an example, you will receive both the PlayStation®4 version and the PlayStation®5 version of NBA 2K22, which remain different products.

How long is 2K22 story mode? ›

Main Story996h 3m
Main + Extras1442h
Completionist2255h 30m
All PlayStyles12151h 27m

What build should I make in 2K23? ›

Build order:
  • Driving Dunk.
  • Perimeter Defense.
  • Driving Layup.
  • Acceleration.
  • Speed.
  • Ball Handle.
  • Speed With Ball.
  • Three-Point Shot.
Nov 9, 2022

Who can dunk the best in 2K22? ›

Here are the five best dunkers in NBA 2K22 that you'll want to play with.
  • Zion Williamson.
  • Zach LaVine.
  • Aaron Gordon.
  • Derrick Jones Jr.
  • Derrick Jones Jr. has been one of the best dunking players in the game. ...
  • Ja Morant.
  • Ja Morant is one of the rare dunking point guards in the league.

Who has a 99 rating in 2K22? ›

Steph's rating of 99 is a given and Klay Thompson's rating of 95 is fitting as well.

What team has Best defense in 2K22? ›

As such, the Celtics are one of the best defensive teams (93) in the game.
Projected starting lineup:
  • Jayson Tatum 90.
  • Jaylen Brown 86.
  • Marcus Smart 79.
  • Al Horford 80.
  • Robert Williams 82.
Jun 2, 2022

Has anyone ever been 100 overall in 2K? ›

According to Sports Illustrated, only five players in history have ever received a 99 rating while actively playing: Lebron, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Only one player has ever received a 100 rating in the game — Shaquille O'Neal.

What is Michael Jordan 2K rating? ›

Michael Jordan's 99 rating is followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 97 with no player at 98. Other stars such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic or Joel Embiid are all at 96. KD already expressed his discomfort for not having 99.

Who was the last 99 overall in 2K? ›

Only five players have ever received a 99 in the NBA 2K franchise: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett. Even more elite of a club is the 100 rating, which only Shaquille O'Neal has achieved (NBA 2K2).

What is better NBA 2K21 or 2K22? ›

Secondly, NBA 2K22 has added dribbling animations and a range of new dribbling moves that is almost immediately apparent for gamers who have played NBA 2K21. The overall offensive AI upgrades are just as apparent in NBA 2K22, with more realistic and dynamic player movement and shooting compared to previous editions.

What is the best NBA Stream? ›

Hulu is an excellent streaming service for sports fans. The basketball lineup includes ABC, ESPN, and TNT, but not NBA TV. It has NBC Sports RSNs, but lacks Bally Sports and SportsNet RSNs. Other sports channels in Hulu's lineup are BTN, CBS Sports Network, FS1, Golf Channel, NFL Network, and NBC Sports Network.

Why did EA stop making NBA Live? ›

We know we need to earn our future every step of the way, so we're taking time to get it right for our players.” The basketball video game landscape has been dominated by 2K for years, so NBA Live will need to come with some strong updates and developments to compete with NBA 2K.

Is NBA 2K22 my player good? ›

The MyCareer mode in NBA 2K22 is considered among the best sports fantasy experiences gamers can have. Living the dream as an NBA superstar is as good as advertised, with league analysts and the game's pro athletes all recognizing the sheer dominance of the customized MyPlayer.

How successful is 2K22? ›

Digitally delivered revenue reached $833 million in fiscal Q4, up 9% year-over-year. The largest contributor was “NBA 2K22” with over 10 million copies sold since Sept. 9, 2021.

Is NBA Live coming back? ›

The last released installment to date was 2018's NBA Live 19. As of 2022, the series has been in an indefinite hiatus, and after the cancellations of NBA Live 20 and NBA Live 21, there has not been any official confirmation on whether or not more games would be developed.
NBA Live
Publisher(s)EA Sports
6 more rows

How much is NBA live stream? ›

When will this subscription renew? The NBA TV annual subscription will automatically bill after a 7-day trial for $6.99 monthly or $59.99 annually; annual subscriptions will renew on October 1, 2021.

What is the best NBA season? ›

The best single regular season record was recorded by the Golden State Warriors in the 2015–16 season. In that season, the Warriors recorded 73 wins and 9 losses with a winning percentage of . 890, surmounting the 1995–96 Chicago Bulls, though the Bulls went on to win the Eastern Conference and the NBA championship.

What is the best basketball league outside NBA? ›

The Best Basketball Leagues and Players Outside of America
  • Top Leagues Outside of the NBA – ...
  • Spain's Liga ACB. ...
  • Turkish Basketball Super League. ...
  • Germany's Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) ...
  • Italy's Lega Basket Serie A (LBA) ...
  • Adriatic League (ABA) ...
  • Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) ...
  • Lithuania's LKL.

Will NBA Live 23 come out? ›

The game was released on August 26, 2022 for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Jayson Tatum was on the cover of NBA Live 23.
NBA Live 23
Developer(s)EA Tiburon
Platform(s)Playstation 5 Xbox Series X/S
Release dateAugust 26, 2022
3 more rows
Aug 26, 2022

What games are EA shutting down? ›

Online Services Shutdown
  • A. May 1, 2023. Apex Mobile iOS, Google Play. ...
  • B. August 1, 2019. Burnout Paradise 2008 (and all associated DLC) for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. ...
  • C. November 09, 2022. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. ...
  • D. January 18, 2023. DiRT 5 for Stadia. ...
  • E. February 6, 2023. ...
  • G. April 6, 2023.

Who is leaving EA? ›

With EA and FIFA going their separate ways after failing to agree on terms of a renewed contract, EA is now forbidden to use any 'FIFA' branding. In light of this, it has been confirmed by EA's vice-president, David Jackson, that the company will continue to release soccer video games, but under the title EA Sports FC.


2. NBA 2K Vs. NBA Live - Graphics Comparison
3. NBA Live 19 Is WAY Better Than 2K 🤣🤷🏾‍♂️
(JxShepp Gaming)
4. The Fall of NBA Live - What Happened?
5. The History Of How NBA 2K Passed NBA Live (EA's Fatal Mistake)
6. Why NBA Live 18 will be worth buying, but not better than 2k
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aracelis Kilback

Last Updated: 02/01/2023

Views: 5436

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aracelis Kilback

Birthday: 1994-11-22

Address: Apt. 895 30151 Green Plain, Lake Mariela, RI 98141

Phone: +5992291857476

Job: Legal Officer

Hobby: LARPing, role-playing games, Slacklining, Reading, Inline skating, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dance

Introduction: My name is Aracelis Kilback, I am a nice, gentle, agreeable, joyous, attractive, combative, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.