The seven-year arrangement will dramatically limit the number of baseball video game manufacturers and ensure aggressive marketing and promotion of baseball video games, while promoting competition in the marketplace to drive innovation in baseball product development. Beginning in 2006, Take2 will have exclusive rights among third-party publishers to develop and market simulation, arcade and manager-style baseball video games on the current and next-generation PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, PC and hand-helds. At the same time, manufacturers of video game systems (such as Sony with its MLB franchise) will have the opportunity to develop and publish baseball simulation games for their own platforms.
Take2, based in New York, is the publisher of top-ranked football, basketball and hockey titles, as well as the top-selling video game, "Grand Theft Auto." The unrivaled development capabilities of its Visual Concepts and Kush studios now will be devoted to baseball video games against all viable platforms.
"The baseball video game business has been underdeveloped for years," said John Olshan, the MLBPA's Category Director for Interactive Games. "The upcoming change in technology makes this the perfect time for us to implement our plan for growing the business, and we have no doubt that Take2's proven creativity and innovation, combined with their incredible distribution strength and powerful commitment to baseball, will add real excitement and depth to the video game marketplace. Baseball fans will be the big winners."