Fans who harbor nostalgia for EA Sports’ venerated last-gen MVP Baseball franchise may want the publisher to get back in the game and put out a new baseball title, now that Take-Two, the parent company of 2K Sports, seems unwilling to extend its third-party exclusivity deal with Major League Baseball. But in an interview with ESPN, EA Sports head Andrew Wilson declared that his company isn’t focusing on baseball at the moment.
Having just accomplished the stunning coup of taking the UFC license off of THQ’s hands — as Wilson put it, “The ink was still wet when we walked on stage [at EA’s press briefing]” — Wilson said that while he’s hopeful for future opportunities with the MLB license, “It’s just not something we’re working on right now.”
Considering Take-Two’s apparent lack of desire to continue its exclusive third-party agreement with MLB for baseball videogames — the company has reportedly lost $30 million over the course of the seven-year contract — it would seem safe to assume that MLB would open up the license for bidding once again, or make no exclusive agreements and allow any publisher to release a licensed game. (The latter is the case for the NHL and NBA.)
But EA could be hesitant to jump back into baseball for a few reasons. At this point, there’s no way the company — or anybody else — would be able to develop a simulation title and have it ready for release by next March. And trying to take on Sony’s well-regarded MLB The Show series, which is entrenched with a vast majority of the market share on PS3, might be more than the publisher can handle — especially when it’s already trying to do just that with its revival of NBA Live, which will compete with the juggernaut that is NBA 2K this fall. Finally, EA may not want to make a major investment in a new property with next-generation consoles just around the corner.
In the meantime, it doesn’t look like a simulation baseball game will be available in 2013 anywhere except on the PlayStation 3 and the Vita.