The 2K franchise proved to really be what redefined the evolution of sporting simulation games. The graphics in these games proved to be far superior than anything else available at the time. In 1999, Sega released NBA 2K, short for 2000 and at the time, it was only available for the Sega Dreamcast. This went on to compete directly with the NBA Live video game series, produced and manufactured by EA Sports.

The first version of NBA 2K hit stores in early November, 1999 and was developed by Visual Concepts for the Sega Dreamcast and featured Allen Iverson on the cover. NBA 2K has always placed the previous NBA season’s MVP on the cover until 2010, when the cover featured Michael Jordan, and then in 2011, the game featured Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Regardless of this though, the NBA 2K franchise featured Allen Iverson for the first five years of its release.

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NBA 2K remained on the Sega Dreamcast until 2001, with the NBA 2K2 release. This also marked the first year the game appeared on the PS2, Xbox and Nintendo GameCube. Shortely after this year, Sega folded its hardware manufacturing branch of the company and focused only on the production of games. So, while NBA 2K continued on, the gaming system did not. in 2003, the game was renamed ESPN NBA Basketball and was only released on the PS2 and Xbox. The year later in September of 2004, the game was renamed ESPN NBA 2K 5, but it returned to its original name as NBA 2K6 in 2005 with its release on the PS2, Xbox and Xbox 360. The name of the game has not changed since.

The NBA 2K11 release in October of 2010 saw the largest overhaul of the game, as it allowed individuals to play as past players, and the 2K12 released only added to the sophistication of these players, increasing the visibility of the characters and the way the characters performed in similar manors to the original athletes. The 2011 release also saw the first release of it on mobile devices, such as the iPad and iPhone. The following year, NBA 2K13 came out with Android based versions of the game as well.