"What's going on over at Take Two? MLB2K series cancelled? (swipe)"
I don't play baseball games, but Take Two made the last playable college basketball game (which 4 years later I still play to this day). With them bowing out of baseball, the only sports franchises left are:
Madden (EA) NCAA (EA) NBA 2K (2K) MLB The Show (SCEA) NHL (EA)
What's going on with sports videogames? Does the format need a make over? How does sports gaming look going in to the next generation of systems?
Take Two reported their Q4 Fiscal 2012 financials today and with that came their upcoming slate of scheduled products for the entire 2013 fiscal year. The only sports title listed is NBA 2K13 signaling what could be the end of the MLB 2K franchise. In fact this was the exact way that both the NHL 2K and College Hoops 2K franchises were discovered to have been cancelled so the precedent is there. (Update) Confirmation has come down the series is likely dead.
Still there is some level of uncertainty around the situation. There has been no statement as to the current status of the MLB license for 3rd parties now that the previous deal has expired – whether Take Two is going away from it, another company has picked it up, or if there will be no MLB product from anyone but SCEA next year. At this point it seems more likely than not that the Xbox 360 won’t have a licensed MLB game in 2013.
It would not come as a surprise for 2K Sports to lose baseball without putting up a fight. Take Two president Strauss Zelnick has made it clear that the company wants to concentrate almost solely on original IPs and in doing so cut out the costs incurred with licensing. In the case of MLB 2K it has lost over $30 million every year of the deal. Only because the NBA 2K series has become such a huge success does that one seem safe for the coming years otherwise Take Two may have just sold off the 2K Sports division or just shut it all down.
Expect more details on the state of Take Two’s relations with the MLB soon. Following reporting on the absence of both College Hoops and NHL in previous years the company has come out to make statements on their cancellations within a matter of days.
(More on Update) Without seemingly 2K Sports producing an MLB offering the question becomes whether someone like EA could obtain the license – they would need much more favorable terms than the previous agreement – and even if they did whether a game could be produced in time for next year or even this console generation.
3. "nobody wants to pay $60 for roster updates every year" In response to Reply # 0
Its got to be hard to push a game out every year with the exact same content. But having to add new features to make people want to shell out $60. People will pay for football we all know that already. But with the other sports I think it would make more sense for a new game every couple of years and just releasing pay updates for rosters and stuff during off years.
People will pay for football every year. Football is king in this country. But for the less popular sports, this makes perfect sense.
>Its got to be hard to push a game out every year with the >exact same content. But having to add new features to make >people want to shell out $60. People will pay for football we >all know that already. But with the other sports I think it >would make more sense for a new game every couple of years and >just releasing pay updates for rosters and stuff during off >years.
17. "unfortunately, every league would shoot it down" In response to Reply # 15
because these licensing deals are some of the biggest on their books, and the money they make on these yearly "roster updates" is too much to ignore.
if MLB or NBA took the yearly release clause out of their contracts, they would also risk consumers thinking that their products just aren't as good as a football game. On the other hand, casual fans could buy the games more regularly, being that a lot of casual gamers or non-sports fans who play sports games will buy an iteration every 2-4 years.
but as long as the money is there - and the exclusive licenses these leagues currently hold (besides the NBA) are too lucrative to be looked away from, really - it seems safe to say any major sports league would laugh a developer out of the room if they asked for more time to make a better product. That's not exactly the point of the game's existence.
4. "IMO, sports games cost too much, offering too little." In response to Reply # 0
I was one of the biggest NCAA football fanboys out there, but even I can't stomach it anymore...I won't be buying this year, and the last 2 years, I only bought because I found it for $40 on presale.
These games don't improve enough year to year to warrant $60 cost (or even $40). Especially when they become irrelevant a year later. It's almost a $60/year subscription for a gamer dedicated to that title.
As opposed to a game like Mass Effect, Fallout 3, or Elder Scrolls, etc. You pay $60 for it, but one year later, or even further down the line, it's still a great game. With sports games, a year later, it's a throwaway that will go for $6 on ebay.
And the following is a little off topic, but sports games aren't as fun as they used to be. It's probably the only genre where increased realism has made the genre worse. The increased complexity and realism has shifted importance from hand-eye coordination (hard, depending on the game) to using your brain to defeat computer AI (very easy). And the franchise/dynasty modes are very fun, but get repetitive, resulting in an incomplete-feeling experience, as opposed to games like Fallout 3.
11. "EA probably can't get past NOT selling a "new" game." In response to Reply # 8
To them not releasing a game and providing DLC (for $20) is more like losing $40. The whole model for sports videogames is to get consumers to buy it every year. That's their foundation. But it's that business model that's going to ultimately ruin them.
Like I said above, the company that figures out how to monetize new rosters without putting out a new disc every year is going to win. And honestly, charging $60 one year + $20 for the roster update the following year works better than just HOPING a consumer buys your game two years in a row.
12. "well" In response to Reply # 11 Wed May-23-12 05:40 PM by hardware
if EA was to put out a new FIFA every other year, they'd have a regular version one year and a world cup version two years later. That way, they can make money in the off years on DLC leagues that arent in the hard copy like J-League, National teams that arent included, tournaments, commentary, game modes, create-a-player/team options, etc.
it could work for any other sport. just make a big, worthwhile bundle of stuff
if its gonna be the same engine, you may as well put out a slew of new features that has close to the same value. at least then you wouldn't have to spend money printing copies. Given the context, that kind of DLC would be more appetizing. it would for me anyway.
22. "Oh I think it was an extremely clever move" In response to Reply # 21
and I like a lot of the games EA puts out, usually a LOT, but I haven't fucked with their sports in a while.
But at the TIME, MVP Baseball was by FAR the best baseball option out there, and 2K totally shit on them in the baseball arena when it mattered most. Six years later, 2K is bowing out and EA has no great incentive to put their foot back in the door. In hindsight, 2K fucked sports gamers as much as EA did (and the leagues, as well.)
The NBA backed out of exclusive licensing but the fact remains that even with Live returning, in 2012 NBA 2K is the only game in town.
10. "With the "updated" features, they became hard to play." In response to Reply # 0
I think I had 2K2 for the Dreamcast, and that was the most intuitive baseball game I've played. I lost total interest when I created a player and couldn't even win the Derby, or get a single in a full game. I do try out the demo every year, just to see if it's worth the purchase, and every year, I get to save that money.
Let's go back to 2004, the last year before exclusive licenses spoiled the buffet of options for sports video gamers. In that year alone, EA Sports released two versions of NFL Street. Midway, now defunct, published NBA Ballers and MLB SlugFest: Loaded.
The year before, 2003, had seen NBA Street 2 from EA and NHL Hitz Pro NFL Blitz Pro and another Slugfest from Midway. In a two-year stretch, the four major North American sports leagues combined for seven titles, all of them alternate arcade-style offerings.
These were the halcyon days of sports video gaming, for reasons more than just MVP Baseball and NFL 2K5 and the fact Madden was, yes, very good. So what happened?