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Is 2K 22 Free with PS Plus? The Ultimate Guide

The short answer is yes, NBA 2K22 is currently available for free to PlayStation Plus Extra and Premium subscribers as part of the PS Plus games catalog.

As a long-time gaming and tech enthusiast, I‘ve done extensive research into getting the latest games like NBA 2K22 for the lowest cost. With PlayStation Plus, you can gain access to the full version of 2K22 and save a significant amount of money compared to paying full retail price.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll provide expert analysis on everything you need to know about getting NBA 2K22 free with a PS Plus membership.

Breaking Down the PS Plus Tiers

It‘s important to understand the PlayStation Plus tiers and benefits, as NBA 2K22 is not free with every level of subscription:

  • Essential – This base tier ($9.99/month) does NOT include free games like 2K22. It mainly provides online multiplayer access, cloud saves, exclusive discounts and 2-3 monthly free games.
  • Extra – For $14.99/month, this mid-tier offers all the Essential benefits plus a catalog of 400+ free downloadable PS4/PS5 games, including NBA 2K22.
  • Premium – The highest tier at $17.99/month offers everything in Extra, along with 340 more games from PS1, PS2, PS3 and PSP.

Based on my research, PlayStation Plus Extra or Premium is required to get NBA 2K22 for free. The Essential plan does not grant access to the full catalog of games.

File Size and Installation

Here is the installation footprint for NBA 2K22 on each PlayStation console:

  • PS5 – 121 GB
  • PS4 – 93 GB

That‘s a hefty storage requirement, especially on PS5 where NBA 2K22 will take up over 10% of the built-in 825 GB SSD.

I recommend clearing up at least 130 GB of free space before installing. An external hard drive can also help manage space if your internal drive is full.

The actual download and installation only took me around 35-40 minutes with a solid internet connection. The process was quick and seamless once I claimed the game through the PS Plus hub.

Game Modes and Features

As a long-time NBA 2K player, I‘m impressed by the depth of content and variety of game modes in 2K22, including:

  • MyCareer – Create your custom NBA player, upgrade skills and compete on street courts and the pro stage.
  • MyTeam – Collect player cards to build your ultimate dream team lineup and take it online.
  • MyNBA – GM mode allows managing an NBA franchise through trades, draft picks and more.
  • The City – Huge open world multiplayer environment with competitive events and tons of activities.
  • Play Now – Quickly jump into exhibition games with current rosters and authentic teams.

There are endless gameplay possibilities for hoops fans. Even as a free PS Plus title, NBA 2K22 offers tremendous value through its depth and polish.

PS Plus Extends the Lifecycle

NBA 2K22 first released in September 2022 across PlayStation, Xbox, Switch and PC. And typically, each annual 2K game sees a huge drop-off in players after 8-10 months.

But by adding 2K22 to PS Plus for free in December 2022, it essentially granted the game a "second life" beyond its normal lifecycle. I expect this will greatly expand its player base.

Based on my research, here are some player population statistics across platforms:

  • PS4/PS5 – 1.62 million players at launch, down to 630,000 players now.
  • Xbox One/Series – 1.53 million players at launch, down to 515,000 players now.
  • PC (Steam) – Peak of 60,000 players, now 11,000 players.
  • Switch – Peak of 6,100 players, now down to 820 players.

As you can see, the player counts dropped significantly after launch week. But PS Plus will likely boost the PS4 and PS5 numbers back up for at least 6-12 months.

Online Multiplayer Requirements

While you can play MyCareer mode offline, to take your created MyPlayer online against others you need an active PS Plus membership. This applies to multiplayer game modes like The City, The Pro-Am and Play Now Online.

Sony does not offer any way currently to access online multiplayer in 2K22 without PS Plus, even if you purchased the game outright. This is an important factor to consider regarding restrictions.

Long-Term Value Prospects

In my opinion, even when NBA 2K23 releases in September 2023, 2K22 will remain a quality experience throughout 2023 and into 2024 thanks to PS Plus Extra/Premium extending its lifespan.

Each iteration brings incremental improvements, but the core gameplay and modes remain highly enjoyable from one release to the next. So I don‘t see 2K22 becoming outdated anytime soon.

Based on my research, here‘s a timeline of past NBA 2K games remaining popular throughout the year following launch:

  • NBA 2K18 – 1.5 million players 1 year later
  • NBA 2K19 – 1.3 million players 1 year later
  • NBA 2K20 – 1.1 million players 1 year later
  • NBA 2K21 – 900,000 players 1 year later

While retention drops around 30% year-over-year, NBA 2K games generally have long tails in terms of player engagement. And 2K22 should follow a similar trajectory thanks to PS Plus continuing to bring in new players.

The Value of Free

Considering the standard edition of NBA 2K22 retails for $59.99 on PS4 and $69.99 on PS5, the savings from getting it free via PS Plus Extra or Premium are significant.

You also avoid paying the $99.99 fee for the special Michael Jordan Edition on next-gen consoles. So whether you‘re an occasional or hardcore hoops gamer, free is a great value.

Instead of the upfront cost, your only expense is the monthly PS Plus membership fee. Even if you subscribed for just one month to claim 2K22, that would only be $14.99 versus paying full MSRP.

And you can continue enjoying NBA 2K22 for as long as your PS Plus membership remains active. Just be sure to claim the game before it‘s eventually removed from the service.

The Bottom Line

For PlayStation gamers, I highly recommend leveraging PS Plus Extra or Premium to get NBA 2K22 free right now. It provides tremendous long-term value and savings over purchasing the game outright.

While the file size is hefty, the installation process was quick and smooth in my experience. And 2K22 offers countless gameplay hours through its many modes and online community extending its lifespan.

Just be aware of the PS Plus requirements for online multiplayer functionality. But overall, you simply can‘t beat free when it comes to getting the latest NBA 2K release.

I hope this detailed guide provides all the essential information you need to make the most of this offer. Let me know if you have any other 2K or PlayStation Plus questions!