NBA 2K21 has not even been on the market for a year and is already being given away as a free game in the Epic Games Store. Normally you would think: Hui, but it must have sold badly. But the opposite is the case. Despite and because of aggressive microtransactions, NBA 2K21 turned out to be an absolute gold mine for Publisher 2K. So why is it being given away now?
For some, the answer might be more exciting than the game itself – but before we get into that, there’s some information about the free game. What do you get in NBA 2K21? And how do you get hold of the free Epic game?
What is NBA 2K21 about?
It’s hard to guess from the screenshots, but NBA 2K21 is about basketball. 2K’s longstanding sports simulation has stood up to the competition from EA for 22 series parts.
NBA 2K21 – View screenshots
And while a new NBA Live is a long time coming, NBA 2K21 dribbled into the hearts of basketball fans with well-known strengths in September 2021:
A comprehensive career mode, which is one of the best story experiences of any sports game. Create your own basketball player and play your way from high school to the NBA finals.
- Great gameplay: NBA 2K21 is playing fantastic. Ball control, opponent AI, strategic options – anyone who wants to play basketball on the PC gets a great experience here.
- My Team: In My Team mode, like in FIFA’s Ultimate Team, you gather player legends and create your dream team.
- Multiplayer & Singleplayer: NBA 2K21 offers a wide range of gameplay options for every type of player.
But NBA 2K21 also has some of the most aggressive microtransactions the gaming industry. In addition, little has changed compared to NBA 2K20, even for sports game conditions. The Steam Reviews for NBA 2K21 have been in the basement since its release – only 39 percent of all reviews are positive.
Who is it for?
If you’ve played NBA 2K20 and are expecting a great sequel with lots of new features: You won’t get that here. On the other hand, through Epic’s free promotion, the game is literally a free upgrade to the current year. The strengths of the predecessor are retained, in NBA 2K21 there is an excellent basketball simulation. And a lot of microtransactions.
Nevertheless: If you want to play a little basketball again, feel like a career mode or want to play a few quick matches with friends, then the game has a lot to offer. Just be careful that you don’t waste a lot of money in MyTeam mode – there are pretty nasty cost traps lurking here. Also check the PC system requirements so that you don’t start the download for no reason.
Where can I get NBA 2K21?
If you have a free user account in the Epic Games Store, you can easily access the Article page from NBA 2K21 call up and put the thing in your shopping cart. Once NBA 2K21 lands in your library, it’s yours forever. So you can keep the free game permanently.
Why is NBA 2K21 being given away at all?
The fact that NBA 2K21 is landing for free in the Epic Store is a very, very exciting sign. It not only shows again how much money Epic willingly takes in hand to land such exclusive deals. As with GTA 5 or other big big budget games, such a gift campaign should be anything but cheap. Precisely because NBA 2K21 also sells like sliced bread in regular stores.
But 2K’s side is also extremely exciting: Recent financial reports from parent company Take Two have shown how lucrative NBA 2K21 is for the company. Despite the negative Steam reviews, the basketball simulation sells great, but the release sales aren’t the star of the show at all. 67 percent of total net bookings in the first quarter of 2021 came from microtransactions. And NBA 2K21 plays a big role here.
In concrete terms: People put an incredible amount of money into card packages and other upgrades that can be bought in addition to the purchase price. Giving away NBA 2K21 in the Epic Store should be double the win for 2K. Epic pays for the free deal – and a gigantic new player base becomes the potential target group for MyTeam and the lucrative microtransactions. More about these mechanisms in our plus video analysis:
Epic Games Store vs. Steam: Facts, Figures, and a Conclusion
Star Wars: Battlefront 2 recently proved that an Epic free cation can skyrocket the number of players. EA is likely to pursue a similar strategy if they offer their EA sports games as part of Microsoft’s Game Pass. A lesson that could catch on in the industry: Giving away your own game is much more than a second or third exploitation months after the release. It can be a gold mine brimming with release sales.