NBA 2K22: Release date, cover athletes, special editions and more

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2K officially announced NBA 2K22 this week. Unfortunately, no actual details regarding gameplay or what’s new this year were revealed, but we did learn all about the five athletes that will grace the various versions of NBA 2K22 — including the first-ever WNBA player.

NBA 2K22 Release Date

Regardless of which edition you purchase, NBA 2K22 will launch globally on September 10, 2021. That’s about a month earlier than when the NBA plans to start its 2021-22 season.

NBA 2K22 Editions

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There are three versions of NBA 2K22 that you’ll be able to purchase this year, and each edition features a different cover along with various bonuses and such.

Standard Edition

The Standard Edition is your most basic version of NBA 2K22. It’s the base game and nothing else. Global phenom Luka Doncic, of the Dallas Mavericks, will grace the cover of the Standard Edition. This version will be available for $59.99 on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC. The next-gen version for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S will cost $69.99. I expect this price tag includes some next-gen exclusive features, similar to EA’s Madden 22 and FIFA 22.

Cross-Gen Digital Bundle

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It doesn’t sound like NBA 2K22 will offer any sort of free upgrade from last-gen to next-gen. Instead, you’ll have to purchase the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle for $79.99. This is basically the Standard Edition of NBA 2K22 with access to the previous- and new-gen versions of the game within the same PlayStation and Xbox family of consoles.

With the next-gen bundle costing $79.99, it doesn’t sound as though there will even be a $10 upgrade fee option that we’ve seen some publishers do when upgrading from last-gen to next-gen. This is similar to what we saw with last year’s game.

So if you own a last-gen console, like PS4 or Xbox One, and plan on upgrading to a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, and don’t want to purchase NBA 2K22 at full price, the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle is the way to go.

Luka Doncic will also be the cover athlete for the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle.

NBA 2K22 NBA 75th Anniversary Edition

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NBA 2K22 NBA 75th Anniversary Edition is available for $99.99 across all platforms, regardless of whether you’re playing on previous- and next-gen. Naturally, it includes dual-gen access along with a 75th Anniversary Edition Bonus and 75th Anniversary Theme.

On the cover of the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition is not one, not two, but three of the league’s most iconic big men — a weird decision given how the league has moved more towards small ball play.

In any case, the cover of this will feature Hall of Famer, all-time NBA scoring leader and six-time NBA Champion and MVP, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 14-time All-Star and NBA Champion, Dirk Nowitzki; and 11-time All-Star and two-time NBA Champion, Kevin Durant. The cover itself is from Atlanta-based artist Charly Palmer, who is known best for his most recent series of paintings and compositions titled “America Must Change.”

First-Ever WNBA Cover Athlete

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While there are technically three editions of NBA 2K22, there’s a fourth option when it comes to the cover you want. Available only in North America exclusively through GameStop and EB Games is a special version of the Standard Edition that features six-time WNBA All Star and WNBA Champion, Candace Parker. 2K has made a concerted effort over the past couple of years to put more of an emphasis on the WNBA in the NBA 2K series and this is the latest step to feature women prominently in the game.

In Japan, there’s a special version of the Standard Edition that features Rui Hachimura, a rising star for the Washington Wizards who was the first Japanese player to be drafted in the first round and the first to reach the NBA playoffs.

NBA 2K22 Pre-Order Details

Even though we don’t have any actual details as to what makes NBA 2K22 different, it’s already available for pre-order. If you’re the type of sports fan who needs the latest installment every year, you can go ahead and pre-order it today. Pre-ordering any version of the game will net you 5,000 Virtual Currency, 5,000 MyTEAM Points, 10 MyTEAM Promo Packs, a boost for each MyCAREER Skill Type and Gatoratde Boost type, a Luka Doncic MyPLAYER Jersey, and a 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTEAM Free Agent Card.