Take Two's exclusive disappointment

2K's exclusive deal killed baseball on the Xbox.

It's August, which means we've just had a full month of nothing but baseball to watch, and have to wait another month before football starts. All of this just a further reminder that Xbox owners have suffered another summer without a quality baseball game. This year, they don't even have a bad baseball game to play, as 2K Sports ended its beleagured MLB 2K franchise. It's a fate that's ten years in the making.

Back in 2005, in response to EA Sports signing an exclusive deal with the NFL, Take Two Interactive signed a semi-exclusive deal with Major League Baseball for seven years. While EA can and probably should be criticized for starting the exclusivity wars, they at least continued to produce a product in Madden that has been adequate at worst, and actually saw significant improvement in its jump to Xbox One and PS4. 2K's baseball games did so poorly they've stopped making them entirely. In the process, sports gamers lost not only 2K baseball, but also a significantly better franchise: MVP Baseball.

While the semi-exclusive baseball deal did inspire Sony to make the fantastic MLB: The Show, it's a PlayStation exclusive. Xbox are owners are literally left without a baseball game, a fact made worse by the fact that MVP Baseball 2005, the last MLB-licensed EA Sports games, is one of the best baseball games ever made, significantly better than anything 2K sports put out.

2K could be at least somewhat forgiven if they'd made a worthy game, or if MVP had made a comeback in the three years since the deal ended in 2012. Unfortunately, there are significant barriers to resurrecting a game that's been shelved for 10 years and skipped an entire console generation. There's a lot of catching up to do, and with all the work that NHL and UFC need, it' understandable why MVP Baseball might not be high on the list of priorities.

PlayStation owners who enjoy baseball certainly have nothing to complain about with the quality of MLB: The Show, but 10 years ago, 2K made a promise they failed to live up to. That's a disappointment for everyone who wants to play on the digital diamond.

Published Aug. 8th 2015
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