NBA 2K13 is a basketball game featuring the official license of the 2012/2013 NBA season. The player can participate in matches and leagues, including the Association mode (the player takes the role of manager, coach and the actual team) and career (the player takes control over one athlete and accompanies him over his whole career). The major changes here are the option to sit in with the general manager, eventually the option to create Nike shoes and that the experience point system was replaced with virtual currency. The main difference is that virtual currency (used to buy new skills for the player-created athlete) is earned with all game actions and not only within the career mode. The legends playing mode was cut.
During the matches themselves, the biggest change is that the dribbling was refined: when playing with a gamepad, all dribbling actions are now mapped to the right analogue stick. Other additions are some technical improvements in graphics and physics, signature athlete skills and – in addition to the legendary historical teams – a celebrity team with Justin Bieber. The involvement of Jay-Z is reflected in the overall presentation and soundtrack.
Console exclusive is the MyTeam mode which is basically a variant of the Ultimate Team mode found in EA’s FIFA Soccer series. The player starts with a weak team and can improve it by buying booster packs with virtual currency; the trading card model. This team can then be used to play matches against other teams. The online mode was a small (12 matches) league in which the teams competed for playoff qualification.
The Wii U version has an exclusive feature called “Gatorade Biometric Scan”: when holding the Wii U gamepad vertically, it visualizes the athletes with heat signatures which shows their fatigue and how well they are shooting. The quick coaching options, usually used with the digital pad, can also be used with the touch pad.