'NBA 2K13' action hits Facebook, mobile

"NBA 2K13" is introducing a "Sims"-style companion for gamers to maintain their created player. 2K Sports

Ever wonder how multimillionaire NBA players end up going broke once they’re out of the league?

All you have to do is play the “NBA 2K: My Life” Facebook game to find out, as you build your baller, walk around a “Sims”-like world, and spend money (both earned in game and real-world currency) to upgrade your living quarters in order to have the most plush estate possible, from mansions on the beach to your own basketball arena in your backyard to a mobile DJ stage, complete with -- what else? -- your own robot who can mix and scratch.

This is what being a baller is all about in the 2K Sports Facebook experience, as you invite other NBA players like Dirk and Melo over to your crib for a party, challenge them to dunk contests, and invite them to become part of your entourage. The more popular you become, the more endorsement money you’ll collect, and as you accomplish more and more in the “My Life” world, you’ll also be unlocking everything from clothes and shoes to dunk packages that you’ll then be able to use in the console version of “NBA 2K13.”

Create your player in “NBA 2K13” before logging into the Facebook game, and you’ll even see a cartoon version of your “My Career” player digitized and walking around your Facebook game.

But that’s not the only way 2K Sports is hoping to bring the “NBA 2K13” experience across to platforms beyond the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. In addition to the Facebook game, there also will be a free companion app for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android and the Kindle, along with the return of “NBA 2K13” to mobile devices, including multiplayer via Bluetooth and Game Center.

Gamers who play “NBA 2K13” on consoles will be most interested in the MyNBA2K app, however, thanks to the ability to improve your “My Career” player by competing in a series of mini-games through your mobile device. Gamers can swipe, touch, and drag their way through free-throw drills, dribbling courses, autograph signings (where you actually sign magazines via touchscreen) and even a Simon-esque playbook game where you need to remember the position assignments on court in order to advance to the next round. Pass a level, earn some virtual currency and upgrade bonuses that can then be assigned back to your player on the 360 and PS3, enabling you bump up key attribute points before a big game.

Why do I have a feeling this is now going to be the role of every little brother in America? As big brother plays “NBA 2K13,” he uses his siblings to simultaneously earn his character additional points via mobile. Talk about a great way to beat the system (and exploit cheap labor).

There’s even a way to incorporate the new “My Team” feature (think “Madden" Ultimate Team), where gamers on the consoles collect teams of players by collecting cards in hopes of building the best squad. Using the free app, you can now take your team mobile and play a game that’s almost like basketball Stratego, where player matchups and outcomes are based on ratings, and your success of beating a defender off the dribble will all come down to your dribble rating versus their on-the-ball defense numbers. Beat your man, and find a teammate underneath for an open pass. It’s all about where you want to position your players on the court and rolling the dice on whether you want to shoot, dribble, or pass in order to move the ball against the defense. It's a pretty cool, out-of-the-box game design that looks like it could be a pretty fun way to kill your daily commute on the train.

And that’s the point of these new “NBA 2K” experiences, as gaming is no longer locked to your console at home, and 2K Sports wants to be everywhere with you throughout your day.

Even if your player ends up going broke buying robot DJs.