NBA 2K vs. NBA Live: What Each Series Does Best

NBA 2K and NBA Live are both popular, realistic franchises for basketball fans to experience the action on and around the court in an up-close-and-personal way. NBA Live is no longer an active series, and NBA 2K always overshadowed it. Nevertheless, it was comparable in terms of quality. In fact, both franchises had things they did well. Below, we compare NBA 2K vs. NBA Live in a variety of categories.

Online Play: Winner: NBA 2K

NBA Live’s online mode was always pretty bare-bones. But NBA 2K, on the other hand, offered full online seasons, downloadable rosters, and other great features that took online play to new heights.

Graphics: Winner: NBA 2K

Hands-down, NBA 2K is the winner in the graphics category, setting the bar year after year for realism. In fact, this is an area where it significantly outpaces its competitor.

Franchise Mode: Winner: NBA Live

Players could count on NBA Live to continually upgrade its franchise mode. NBA 2K, by contrast, has a history of letting franchise mode languish.

MyPlayer: Winner: NBA 2K

The equivalent of NBA 2K’s MyPlayer mode in NBA Live is The One. These modes are very similar, but the customization capabilities of NBA 2K’s MyPlayer mode far exceed what The One offers.

Presentation: Winner: NBA Live

NBA Live games were way ahead of NBA 2K games in the presentation department. In particular, the ESPN halftime show was a standout feature.

Commentary: Winner: NBA Live

Neither game is actually great in the commentary area. That being said, NBA Live seems to put a bit more effort into this side of things than NBA 2K.

Team Selections: Winner: NBA 2K

NBA 2K leaves NBA Live far behind when it comes to team selections, including classic rosters, All-Time teams and All-Star Teams.

Microtransactions: Winner: NBA Live

While there is a lot to love about the NBA 2K series, the ridiculous amount of microtransactions is a definite setback. Players appreciated just how much smaller a role microtransactions played in NBA Live games.

Fresh Features: Winner: NBA Live

NBA Live did a better job for the most part in continually innovating with new installments when compared to NBA 2K.

Still Exists: Winner: NBA 2K

Finally, NBA 2K beats NBA Live right now for the simple fact that 2K is a continuing series, while NBA Live is dormant, perhaps indefinitely. It is certainly still fun to sometimes get back into playing old NBA Live releases, but nothing compares with the excitement each season of picking up a brand-new 2K game.

Speaking of that excitement, NBA 2K23 will be releasing on September 9th around the globe, and is available to pre-order now. Check out all the editions of NBA 2K23 so you can figure out which to get. You also can catch up on what we know so far about the new game in our NBA 2K23 guide. Make sure to drop by our NBA 2K news page for more updates on this and future NBA 2K games.