The new release of NBA 2K23 on September 9th, 2022 added another impressive installment to the legendary sports gaming franchise. When it arrived on the scene with NBA 2K, it immediately challenged NBA Live for the top basketball game crown and handily took it from that EA Sports series in a few years.

Since the mid-2000s, NBA 2K has been unmatched in the basketball realm, yet there are still a handful of games that are kind of similar. Some remain in the world of basketball, some focus on other sports, and a few are from 2K as a studio.


NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (2018)

Maybe the realistic simulation nature of NBA 2K23 isn't quite your style. You might not be interested in playing a game that feels like what you see on TV in a real NBA game and that's where NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 comes into play.

This is the studio's spin-off meant for those who don't want to take basketball too seriously. The arcade style of gameplay and cartoon animation style makes this a fun alternative while still featuring the NBA All-Stars that every basketball fan knows. Reviews for this sequel were mixed but it remains a blast to play.

Out Of The Park Baseball 23 (2022)

Out of the Park Baseball interface

One of the deepest modes in the NBA 2K franchise for years has been its Franchise/MyGM/MyLeague/MyNBA, which keeps getting renamed. The amount of stat tracking, general manager moves, and more that you get in the game are a dream for those who want to run a team.

For a similar but even deeper experience, fans who also like baseball can try Out of the Park Baseball 23. There is no actual baseball played here as the entire concept is just handling the job of a general manager with real MLB teams and players.

NHL 22 (2021)

NHL 22 Biggest Improvements

Technically, you can test out any installment of EA Sports' long-running NHL series but the most recent is NHL 22, with the 2023 iteration arriving on October 14th, 2022. Like NBA 2K is with basketball, this franchise is at the top when it comes to hockey.

Although the sports aren't similar, the games themselves are. Both feature expansive career modes, impressive soundtracks, and the inclusion of teams outside the main league (NHL and NBA) like international squads and even female national teams.

NBA Jam (1993/2010)

Gameplay of NBA Jam

There aren't many video games more synonymous with sports than NBA Jam. Similar to the aforementioned 2K Playgrounds game, this has an arcade feel, making it so much fun to play with friends. In fact, the original from 1993 remains a hit anywhere you can find an arcade machine.

While the original is still a gem, the game featured numerous sequels and remakes over the years. The latest is from 2010 and though the rosters are outdated, it retains the charm of the initial game and works as a great look at an era of basketball about a decade in the past.

FIFA 22 (2021)

Along the same lines as NHL 22, FIFA 22 is the premier soccer game on the market and it also comes from EA Sports. Also like NBA 2K, it is the first game that people think of when this sport comes to mind and has been for a long time.

Unlike some other franchises, reviews have remained strong and consistent over the years. The latest installment found more ways to innovate like updating the career mode and introducing "HyperMotion Technology," making it the best and most realistic take on the sport.

International Basketball Manager 22 (2021)

International Basketball Manager interface

For anyone who loves the idea of Out of the Park Baseball 23 but isn't a big fan of that sport, they need not worry. International Basketball Manager 22 is also available on Steam and follows the same basic premise, though isn't quite as famous or popular.

The game allows the player to have complete control over a worldwide basketball league and actually is officially licensed by EuroLeague Basketball, which is a pretty big deal. Reviews on Steam are impressive and at just $24.99, it's a great value.

WWE 2K22 (2022)

Dakota Kai in WWE 2K22

When 2K Sports got the rights to make WWE games, they got off to a strong start but really missed the mark with WWE 2K20. The game was filled with glitches, had disappointing graphics, and was universally panned. So, they took a year off before releasing WWE 2K22.

It worked out because the new gameplay system was met with critical acclaim and most reviews were positive. The game features an impressive roster that even includes celebrities like Machine Gun Kelly and legends like The Rock. That makes it one of the best WWE games ever.

MLB The Show 22 (2022)

MLB The Show is part of a larger issue with sport video games being subpar on PC, alongside FIFA, Madden, and NHL

A trend here is that since NBA 2K is the top basketball gaming franchise, the other top series for each major sport are included. In the world of baseball, that's MLB The Show, which is so good that it has gotten released on multiple platforms despite being a Sony game.

The stat-tracking doesn't quite match up to NBA 2K but this also gives players the most realistic take on the sport, often feeling like you're watching things unfold on national TV. MLB The Show has also improved its creation modes in recent years, nearly matching up with NBA 2K.

Madden NFL 23 (2022)

How Madden NFL 23 Compares To Past Madden Games

The history of the Madden franchise is an interesting one. There's no doubt that it is the king of football games but 2K Sports nearly had it beat during the mid-2000s before EA nabbed the exclusive rights to NFL teams and players. Since then, Madden has been kind of up and down.

Some entries are met with widespread acclaim while others have been criticized for not being innovative enough. Regardless, it tops the football food chain and has a deep franchise mode that fans of NBA 2K can appreciate.

NBA 2K22 (2021)

Luka Doncic in NBA 2K22

If there's one thing that a lot of sports games get negative reviews about, it's that things don't change too much from one year to the next other than the addition of a handful of players. So, if you currently have NBA 2K22, there might not be a need to pick up NBA 2K23.

This game was, as usual with the franchise, well-received. Not only that but it features mostly the same core batch of NBA players and the gameplay is similar enough that it's almost the same thing. The biggest difference with NBA 2K23 is likely to be the deep MyNBA mode that allows you to rewrite history.

NEXT: The Best NBA 2K Games, Ranked By Metacritic