The best Xbox sports games 2023

Take a look at the best Xbox sports games to play and load up on your console to experience a wide range of sports and the bets in each sport type.

Best Xbox sports games: the late, great Kobe Bryant in NBA 2K24

What are the best Xbox sports games? Between the massive backlog in Xbox Game Pass aided by the inclusion of EA Play and new releases landing month after month, it can be a challenge to know where to begin for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S players. Whether you’re looking to dive into a remastered classic, something genre-breaking, or one of the many top-notch sports sim franchises, we’re here to help you navigate the impressive selection of the best Xbox sports games.

That’s especially true for Xbox Game Pass subscribers, as a number of the best sports games on these consoles are included in that subscription library. Among them are several EA Play offerings too, as that library is included in Xbox Game Pass. While players on Xbox Series X|S will have the option of a few extra features and higher quality graphics for a few of these entries, players on Xbox One can rest assured that they will still have a great experience. Of course, if you want to amp up your experience even further, then check out some of the best Xbox accessories you can add to your setup.

The best Xbox sports games are:

Best Xbox Sports Games: Jazz can be seen

1. MLB The Show 23

While it was a PlayStation exclusive for years, MLB The Show 23 has continued the new standard of releasing on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S in addition to becoming an Xbox Game Pass arrival at launch. Where even some of the best sports games struggle, MLB The Show 23 continues to excel with streamlined clean menus and responsive gameplay paired with a remarkably small number of glitches compared to some other major releases.

Road to the Show allows you to push players from the minor leagues all the way to a Hall of Fame-worthy career, and companion modes Franchise and March to October allow players two unique experiences controlling an entire team. Diamond Dynasty can be a blast for baseball card fanatics and is filled with grind opportunities to avoid microtransactions.

Most of all, MLB The Show 23 stands above the rest due to the new Storylines mode diving into the history of the Negro Leagues. Xbox Game Pass subscribers should snag this one right away and keep an eye out, as MLB The Show 24 may also end up on Game Pass at launch. You can read our full thoughts in our MLB The Show 23 review.

Best Xbox sports games: a player in a blue jersey knocks over another player in NHL 24

2. NHL 24

NHL 24 is very much a giant leap forward but represents a couple of steps back for EA Sports. The new vision passing system is excellent, finally giving you the means to pick your passing target after all these years. Additionally, the Exhaust Engine makes for more realistic gameplay in pressurized situations – though it’s had a mixed response from the community and critics alike.

There’s a new control layout that you can opt into, too, which makes pulling off difficult dekes and dangles infinitely easier than before – flexing on your opponents is half the fun.

However, the premier hockey game experience definitely has its foibles, and the revamped physics system definitely has some creases to iron out – especially when going in for body checks. Regardless

Having only managed to secure a ‘Mixed or Average’ score on Metacritic, NHL 24 might not be the best sports game around, but it’s certainly the best way to experience ice hockey in videogame form.

Best Xbox Sports Games: A team can be seen congratulating each other

3. Madden 24

If you like Madden, you will probably be down for what Madden 24 has in store for you. But, as with previous years, the series has properly stagnated and feels like it is just plateauing in terms of improvements, overall content quality, and new modes. So, this year’s entry isn’t a major improvement over Madden 23 in any way.

You can see what we thought about the game in full in our Madden 24 review. But, if you do want a cheaper option, last year’s game is still available.

Best Xbox sports games: two women fighters square off in UFC 5

4. UFC 5

Translating realistic MMA combat – as well as the stakes it carries – into videogame format accurately has been a long slog for UFC 5 developer EA Vancouver, but it looks like they may have finally cracked it. Three years after the release of UFC 4, the latest and greatest game in the series has brought in a number of tweaks that help elevate it to a new level of realism.

Sporting a brand new damage system, UFC 5 makes you consider your in-match actions more than ever before. With health events such as a cracked rib or swollen eye actively impacting your fighter’s ability to trade blows effectively, you’ll now need to weigh up whether or not to play defensively and see if your condition improves, or try and end the fight as soon as possible.

Sitting up at a ‘Generally Favorable’ score on Metacritic, it looks like UFC hasn’t quite done enough to win all of the critics over. The biggest complaint for many is the lack of a generational leap between last-gen’s UFC 4 and UFC 5, as upgrades this time around have mostly been iterative, rather than innovative. With that said, UFC 5 still remains the premier way to enjoy MMA gameplay.

Best Xbox Sports Games: A skateboarder can be seen

5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2

Jumping out of our cozy Xbox Game Pass offerings, there’s no way to run over the best Xbox sports games without talking about the return of the king. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is arguably one of the greatest sports games ever made and remains one of the highest-rated games of all time on Metacritic with a 98 out of 100. The development team at Vicarious Visions took on the task of remastering both the original Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the beloved sequel into a single release, and they knocked it out of the park.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 saw massive success at launch on Xbox One and other platforms, and a version with even crisper graphics landed on Xbox Series X|S about a year after the title was first released. Boasting all the trick mastery and challenges of the past along with an extensive skater lineup, the title also includes split-screen multiplayer and a deep park creator mode. Whether you enjoyed the classics or are jumping in for the first time, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 will be an absolute blast for all players. While not currently available on Xbox Game Pass, the title is often discounted if players want to keep an eye out for sales.

Best Xbox Sports Games: Kobe Bryant can be seen

6. NBA 2K24

If you’re a longtime NBA fan, it can be easy to yearn for yesteryear and the way the sport used to be played. Fortunately, NBA 2K24 has broken new ground with the new MyNBA Eras addition, Franchise Mode, and general game updates.

For as much praise as the franchise gets, MyCAREER has been much more polarizing with some players not enjoying the online-centric environment packed with odd tasks and storylines. Fortunately, if that mode isn’t your speed, you can also jump into a range of other challenges, etc. As always though, the franchise is bogged down by microtransactions, which are at their worst in years, however. You can read our full thoughts in our NBA 2K24 review.

Best Xbox Sports Games: Two wrestlers can be seen

7. WWE 2K23

While the WWE 2K franchise became a bit of a laughingstock four years ago when WWE 2K20 absolutely bombed at release and was riddled with glitches, things have finally taken a turn for the better in the last few years. Starting with the release of WWE 2K22 featuring a rebuilt gameplay engine, the arrival of WWE 2K23 has finally gotten all the pieces back in place to get this series rolling on the right track. With the gameplay back to being both fun and challenging, WWE 2K23 also shines with the MyRISE career mode allowing players to play as both male and female superstars looking to make their mark in WWE history.

Perhaps most exciting for longtime wrestling fans is the arrival of MyGM, a revamp of the franchise-esque GM Mode once seen more than a decade ago in the SmackDown vs. Raw games. After a relatively minimal set of features last year, MyGM feels like it’s finally become the mode it was meant to be in WWE 2K23. On top of that, it can be paired with the game’s massively extensive creation suite and huge Community Creations library where just about any pro wrestler, fictional character, or historical figure you can imagine has been created and is easily downloadable. You can read our full thoughts in our WWE 2K23 review.

Best Xbox Sports Games: Cars can be seen fighting

8. Rocket League

Few could’ve guessed the international phenomenon that Rocket League would become when Psyonix dropped the relatively unsuccessful Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars on PS3 back in 2008. A decade and a half later, Rocket League has become one of the most beloved and easily approachable genre-breaking sports games in the world. Blending the environment of soccer with cars doing flips and boosting their way gracefully through the air turned out to be a recipe for success, and it’s one that is now free-to-play on all platforms including Xbox.

With such a low barrier to entry, there’s truly nothing to lose for players who haven’t yet tried out this chaotic experience, especially if you use one of the top starting cars or best cars in Rocket League. It also benefits from shorter matches lasting usually just five minutes, as you can hop on and play a few quick matches without getting wrapped up into an hours-long game. Since launching in 2015, Rocket League has also continued to add tons of different customization options. That includes both the design of the car you’ll be using, but also accessorizing details like the wheels, topper, boost trail, and other ways to personalize your ride. There’s no need for Xbox Game Pass, as all Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S players can download Rocket League for free right now.

Best Xbox Sports Games: Two fighters can be seen in a cage

9. AEW Fight Forever

Last but certainly not least, we have a newcomer to both the larger sports gaming genre and the more niche wrestling gaming genre. The WWE 2K franchise has long been the only real game in town, but that’s changing as AEW Fight Forever arrived just over a month ago. With a much smaller development team at THQ Nordic and no doubt a much smaller budget, AEW Fight Forever didn’t seek to create the same extreme realism and intensely vivid graphics quality of WWE 2K23.

Instead, this new arrival harkened back to stylized graphics and nostalgic gameplay reminiscent of wrestling classics like WWF No Mercy and WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain. The Road to Elite single-player Career Mode offers extensive replayability and the option to use the in-game roster or a custom wrestler. The biggest departure from convention may be the inclusion of over a dozen various minigames that feel right out of a wrestling-themed edition of Mario Party and crank up the fun most when playing with friends.

The game is also due to continue expanding with new match types, minigames, and wrestlers due in both free and paid DLC in the coming weeks and months. While not yet available on Xbox Game Pass, there’s always a chance it could hit that lineup in the future.

Best Xbox Sports Games: Haaland can be seen kicking a ball

10. FC 24

Despite a new name, FC 24 is very much still familiar. However, there are some nice gameplay advancements here with PlayStyles and Evolutions. You can expect a higher bar of quality this year though as EA has really done a great job at raising the bar across the board as they break away from the FIFA brand.

Boasting improved graphics, more fluid animations, and even a revamped traits system in FC 24 PlayStyles, the world’s best players who sit at the top of the FC 24 ratings have never looked or felt better to play. EA has even given low spenders in FC 24 Ultimate Team a new way to remain somewhat competitive thanks to FC 24 Evolutions. Result.

You can read our full thoughts on the game in our FC 24 review.

That covers our picks for the best sports games on Xbox. For even more titles to play, check out our list of the best Xbox Game Pass games and the best Xbox games out right now. See you out there.