SBD/March 31, 2011/MLB Season Preview

EA Sports Officially Returning To MLB Games With New Facebook Effort

EA Sports is returning to licensed baseball video gaming after a six-year absence with the release of "World Series Superstars," a social game on Facebook. The result of a multiyear deal between EA Sports, MLBAM and the MLBPA, the new title will be a team building game similar in concept to other entries on Facebook by the publisher, including "Madden Superstars" and "FIFA Superstars." EA Sports last had a video game with MLB intellectual property in '05 with the last iteration of console title "MVP Baseball" before the league struck an exclusive console-based deal with 2K Sports. The new game will operate on a now-traditional revenue model for social gaming in which a free level of play is supplemented by microtransactions that open up other game assets. "The core mechanic of collect, build, play and share in the game is perfectly suited to baseball," said EA Sports Senior VP/Worldwide Development Andrew Wilson. "Our last baseball product still sits high among gamers, and we're thrilled with the opportunity to get back into the game." The deal, however, does not carry any covenants or options for console-based games, even as the 2K Sports deal that has been a critical and financial loser expires next year and almost certainly will not be renewed.

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