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NBA 2K21 greatly expands WNBA content after league ratings rise in 2020

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

The WNBA is coming to NBA 2K21 in a much bigger way. The game — which will be the first to hit next gen consoles — will feature multiple new modes focused on the WNBA.

Senior producer for NBA 2K21 Felicia Steenhouse announced the news Thursday, saying NBA 2K21 would include a WNBA franchise mode, MyPlayer mode and a new 3v3 multiplayer online mode.

It’s a pretty massive expansion from what WNBA fans received in NBA 2K20. Last year’s version of the game was the first time WNBA teams and players were added to NBA 2K. WNBA fans, however, were limited to only two modes in NBA 2K20. They could play exhibition games with their favorite WNBA teams or play out a season. They were welcome additions, but paled to what the game offered NBA fans.

That’s not going to be the case in NBA 2k21. Franchise mode will allow players to take over their favorite WNBA for multiple seasons. Want to see if you can lead the Seattle Storm to multiple WNBA championships while drafting the team’s next superstar? You can do that now. Want your favorite team to pull off a trade for A’ja Wilson? Go for it.

Perhaps the biggest edition on the WNBA side is the game’s MyPlayer mode — which is called The W. In The W, you can build your own WNBA player and play out the journey of their career. You can choose what type of player you’ll be — from sharpshooter to defensive anchor — and control some of your player’s interactions off the court.

While these modes are similar to what NBA 2K offers on the NBA side, these modes have been specifically tailored to the WNBA experience. It sounds like a lot of work went into these modes, which should give WNBA fans the same, deep experience they would have if they were playing those modes on the NBA side.

WNBA ratings were up in 2020

While the team over at NBA 2K21 was likely working on these modes prior to the 2020 WNBA season, the additions come at a pretty good time. WNBA ratings were up significantly in 2020. Average viewership of games jumped 68 percent, making the WNBA a major outlier. Nearly every other professional sports league experienced a sharp decline in ratings in 2020.

Whether that leads to bigger sales for NBA 2K21 remains to be seen, but it’s still a nice move by the developers to give WNBA fans a deeper and more rewarding gameplay experience.

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