Along with finalizing the game's cover star roster, 2K Game has just pinned down details on the next-gen releases and pricing for NBA 2K21. On the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, whether you're purchasing digitally or physically, the standard edition versions of 2K21 will cost $69.99, suggesting that more full-price titles on next-gen may follow 2K's lead here.
2K confirms the pricing in a new press release that also unveils Kobe Bryant as 2K21's third cover athlete, gracing a special Mamba Forever edition dedicated to the late Lakers star. Retailing for $99.99, the Mamba Forever edition will grant "dual-access" to versions for current-gen and next-gen consoles within the same family (PS4 and PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X).
On PS4 and Xbox One, the standard edition of NBA 2K21 (with Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers on its cover) will still launch for the familiar standard price of $59.99. The PS5 and Xbox Series X standard editions will feature Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans.
At this stage, not even knowing how much the next-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles are set to cost, it's too early to say whether 2K's decision to raise the price for next-gen versions will mark the start of a new standard. Many have pointed to the $59.99 price point as one of many seemingly unsustainable aspects of triple-A development. The rise in ubiquity of additional monetization plans like paid season passes has also occured in-part as a response to the high costs of development. Even setting aside inflation, in many cases it costs far more to produce a title that can debut at around $60 than it did when the price became standard well over a decade ago.
Further complicating the matter are subscription services like Xbox Game Pass and programs for enabling cross-gen purchases. All of Microsoft's first-party cross-gen titles will be available through Game Pass, so many players won't be purchasing copies of titles like Halo Infinite at all. Already, third-party titles like Assassin's Creed Valhalla and Cyberpunk 2077 have been confirmed to utilize Xbox's Smart Delivery or to separately guarantee free upgrades for PS5, all while being available for pre-order today at or below $59.99. If a $10 price increase is in the cards for more next-gen games, it might only feel "normal" once we've moved further past the PS4 and Xbox One.