Take-Two Locks Up MLB For 7 Years, Takes the Non-EA Route

by: Charlie -
Take-Two announced today that it has locked up the rights to the MLB for the next seven years. Instead of being jerks about it like EA, this is a third-party deal, meaning that it simply has the rights to produce a game based on the MLB properties. These deals are always in place every year but Take-Two did the smart thing and ensured security by establishing a long-term deal instead of a year-to-year one. This means that EA can't continue its Hitler-esque practice and secure the exclusive rights to the MLB, well at least for the next seven years.

Seems like it's EA 2 - 1 Take-Two/SEGA Sports. Now to see what happens with the NHL and NBA licenses.
Major League Baseball Players Association Makes Bold Move to Grow Video Game Business
Monday January 24, 11:23 am ET

NEW YORK, Jan. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Major League Baseball Players Association ("MLBPA") today announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to grant sweeping rights to Take2 Interactive, Inc., to develop and publish a broad portfolio of products that are expected to drive the baseball video game business to unprecedented heights.

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The innovative 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, X-BOX, Nintendo, personal computer and hand-held video game systems. At the same time, manufacturers of video game systems 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."

The Major League Baseball Players Association is the collective bargaining representative for all professional baseball players of the thirty Major League Baseball teams and serves as the exclusive group licensing agent for commercial and licensing activities involving active Major League baseball players. On behalf of its members, it operates the Players Choice licensing program and Players Choice Awards, which benefit the needy through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, a charitable foundation established and run entirely by Major League baseball players.
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