MLB 2K12 is Possibly the Final Outing for the Baseball Series
In yesterday’s Take Two Q4 Fiscal 2012 financial report conference call, an interesting series was conspicuously omitted from the planned game release schedule for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year – MLB 2K. While the series has rarely achieved the heights of being an elite sports series, it’s been the only viable baseball simulation option for Xbox 360 owners in the past year thanks to MLB The Show’s PS3 exclusivity and Take Two’s deal with Major League Baseball. That deal expires within the next few months, and it’s looking like neither side is eager to start negotiating. The only confirmed sports title is NBA 2K13, a sign that the MLB 2K series is relegated to the minor leagues this year and for possibly much longer. Gaming site Kotaku was able to obtain a written statement from Take Two that mentions “[o]ur legacy Major League Baseball agreement will sunset in fiscal 2013. MLB 2K12 is our last offering under that agreement. At this time, we have no further comment.”
While the statement doesn’t exclude the possibility of a renewed agreement with Major League Baseball, it’s unlikely that Take Two will want to renew the license. Beyond the NBA 2K series, few sports titles have ever maintained longevity within the company simply because sports titles have often drained the company’s resources. For every NBA 2K, a Top Spin or College Hoops is quietly discontinued due to fiscal losses, an area with which 2K12 is quite familiar. The game has never received the critical or commercial success of Playstation’s The Show, and now it’s possible that Xbox gamers will not have a baseball game coming their way next year.
Past cancellations – despite being quickly and quietly executed – have always resulted in written statements from Take Two within days of the news. However, while I would love an announcement that an attempt is being made to renew the license, I truly hope it only happens under much, much better contract terms or after it has been shipped to a new developer. For a series that used a perfect game and one million dollars as a marketing ploy, the game’s mechanics and rushed development time always resulted in a good, but flawed, experience. A year on the bench would do wonders for this veteran series, and a trade to a new development team might be the best move for the series in a very long time.