NEWS - Monday, January 24, 2005

Take-Two MLB Deal Official

Take-Two MLB Deal Official January 24, 2005 - It's not exactly news that Take Two is swinging back in the sports exclusive battle suddenly erupting in the past few months: last week we let you know about a sweet deal with the Major League Baseball Player's Association. Today, however, Take Two announced the agreement officially. For seven years, Take Two Interactive has exclusive third-party rights to video games using the MLB brand. Unlike Electronic Arts' recent and controversial deal with the NFL, Take Two is leaving some room for competition: first-party developers (i.e., Microsoft, Sony, or Nintendo) can still use the MLB goods. The contract officially begins in 2006. "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." Take Two, of course, has of late been a publishing partner (along with SEGA) for Visual Concepts' ESPN sports titles. Electronic Arts recently announced it also nabbed the rights to the ESPN brand as another exclusive. The geography of sports gaming is changing, and we'll be right here with more developments as they occur.


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