2K Sports is a leading video game developer and I think they really set the bar high for realistic sports titles. The company is taking their upcoming NBA 2K13 title to the next level with the announcement yesterday that the game will feature Michael Jordan and the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, along with the 2012 USA Basketball Men's National Team, only days after their gold medal win in London.
I had a chance to get on a conference call on August 14 with Michael Jordan himself, as he made the announcement of the news. I even got the opportunity to ask MJ a question: Do you think ultra-realistic sports video games like NBA 2K13 are good visualization and training tools for pro basketball players, and if they were available when you were playing, would you use them? Here's his answer:
"I don't know, I love playing too much. It probably would have helped visually to go out and see if I can do certain things. But in terms of the basics of playing basketball, I was taught those very early. It would have probably added to the creativity of how I played the game, but we'll never know. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it would have."
MJ went on to talk about all aspects of the title and how, through the help of hip hop icon JAY Z, he finally got involved with a video game, after staying away from so long. On why he kept his name and likeness out of video games for so long, Jordan responded: "I just didn't have a passion to do that initially. I was in it early on, and three years ago they came to me about being involved in it and I felt the need to kind of connect to this different era, this different generation. When I was playing, it was easy, all you had to do was see me play live. Now, these kids don't have an opportunity to see me play. So I think one beauty of what 2K does, it gives them a perception of how I played the game, based on my stats and obviously some of the highlights. Initially, I was so wound up in the playing, it was easy for fans to see me globally, by watching TV and the Dream Team. Now, they don't watch me play, so the best play is to see me on 2K."
To me, that is perhaps the ultimate endorsement for the game. The fact that Michael Jordan, possibly the greatest NBA player ever, is pleased with his image and overall character in the game, so much so that he feels it's the best representation of his playing style available for fans who never had the chance to watch him in a game. I think it's an epic moment for sports video games and we are seeing pro athletes like Jordan understand the world of gaming and how there is a whole new generation of kids whose only exposure to some sports and sports heroes is via video games, not through television.
The title's executive producer is JAY Z and it seems he was instrumental in bringing almost all the Dream Team members into the game. Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports commented about JAY Z's participation: "As executive producer, letting fans go head to head with these legendary USA teams was extremely important to JAY Z. We are excited to partner with USA Basketball, and share in JAY Z's enthusiasm in making this a reality in NBA 2K13."
NBA 2K13 was developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio and will be released October 2, 2012 in North America. The game will be released for Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, Sony's PSP portable system, the Nintendo Wii and a Windows PC version. A Wii U (Nintendo's new console scheduled for a 2012 holiday season debut) is planned for a holiday season release. Fans can get the latest NBA 2K13 info at facebook.com/NBA2K.
I can't wait for the release and as soon as I get the title, you know I'll be matching up the 1992 Dream Team against the 2012 Olympic team to see which is the better team.
Source: 2K Sports conference call on August 14 and 2K Sports press release.
Freddy Sherman is an old-school gamer who began his gaming in the 1980s with a Colecovision system and has been playing ever since. He's currently an Xbox 360 user and fan. Aside from playing the games, he enjoys the technology and business side of video gaming. You can follow him on Twitter - @thefredsherman.
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