Additionally, Take-Two announced that Derek Jeter, New York Yankees All-Star shortstop and 2004 Gold Glove recipient, has agreed to a multi-year contract to be spokesperson and cover athlete for the licensed 2K Sports baseball simulation series. "I'm excited to be partnering with an industry leader like Take-Two and I look forward to working together to take the video game experience to the next level for baseball fans," said Derek Jeter.
Take-Two's exclusive, long-term deals, which begin in Spring 2006, enable Take-Two to publish officially licensed Major League Baseball video games on console, PC and handheld platforms. The exclusives include rights to the marks of all 30 Major League Baseball Clubs, MLB players, Major League ballparks and Minor League Baseball Clubs, as well as MLB.com online content, for use in Take-Two's baseball games. Take-Two plans to offer multiple titles based on traditional baseball simulation, arcade and manager-style games, including innovative and specially-timed releases throughout the baseball and holiday seasons. Take-Two's Visual Concepts and Kush Games development studios are creating the baseball titles under Take-Two's recently established 2K Sports publishing label.
These exclusive deals specify Take-Two as the exclusive third-party publisher for officially licensed Major League Baseball video games. Consistent with Take-Two's desire for continued consumer choice, the hardware manufacturers such as Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will retain the right to enter into development agreements for MLB games specific to their particular platforms. All other third-party publishers and developers are precluded from publishing officially licensed MLB simulation, arcade, and manager style games, either directly or in affiliation with a hardware manufacturer, during the length of the exclusives. Take-Two will be the sole developer, publisher and distributor of licensed simulation, arcade and manager-style Major League Baseball PC games.
"The combination of Take-Two's position as a leading video game publisher and distributor, and our experience with Visual Concepts in creating high quality games, makes this an ideal partnership for Major League Baseball," said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball Properties. "Take-Two's plans to introduce more game titles and to distribute them throughout the year, including the key holiday-selling season, will provide baseball fans with exciting and compelling interactive entertainment year-round."
"The baseball video game market has been underdeveloped and 2K Sports has the product plan and talent to change that in next generation video game hardware," said John Olshan, the MLBPA's Category Director for Interactive Games. "For the first time, we will be positioned to take advantage of the entire baseball, hot stove and holiday seasons with an outstanding partner who is committed to giving baseball video games the product development, marketing and distribution required to bring sales in line with the immense popularity of Major League Baseball."
"We look forward to using our technology and online interface to enhance the interactive experience for baseball fans and further extend the reach and increase the exposure to Major League Baseball with the countless hours Americans spend playing video games," said Noah Garden, Senior Vice President of e-Commerce for MLBAM.
"We are extremely honored that Major League Baseball recognizes the accomplishments of Take-Two and Visual Concepts and shares our vision for the future of interactive sports games," said Steve Glickstein, Take-Two Vice President of Publishing Sports. "We are also very happy to announce the long-term relationship with Derek Jeter, one of the greatest baseball players of our generation. We look forward to working with Derek to help us fully leverage baseball's status as one of the country's largest spectator sports and its prominence as America's pastime."
Greg Thomas, President of Visual Concepts, makers of the critically acclaimed 2K Sports line of games, added, "This is an exciting opportunity for us to take the interactive baseball market to a completely new level. As demonstrated by our entire line of critically acclaimed 2K Sports titles, we will continue to innovate in the game play experience, and now, under the incredible scope of these relationships, we will be able to expand the genre by offering a number of new and exciting titles that give consumers the ability to enjoy baseball in entirely new ways. We are very proud of the quality and innovation of our games, along with the tremendous loyalty of our fans, and we look forward to reaching an even bigger audience with our expanded portfolio of titles."