Take Two reported their Q4 Fiscal 2012 financials today and with that came their upcoming slate of scheduled products for the entire 2013 fiscal year. The only sports title listed is NBA 2K13 signaling what could be the end of the MLB 2K franchise. In fact this was the exact way that both the NHL 2K and College Hoops 2K franchises were discovered to have been cancelled so the precedent is there. (Update) Confirmation has come down the series is indeed dead.
Still there is some level of uncertainty around the situation. There has been no statement as to the current status of the MLB license for 3rd parties now that the previous deal has expired – whether Take Two is going away from it, another company has picked it up, or if there will be no MLB product from anyone but SCEA next year. At this point it seems more likely than not that the Xbox 360 won’t have a licensed MLB game in 2013.
It would not come as a surprise for 2K Sports to lose baseball without putting up a fight. Take Two president Strauss Zelnick has made it clear that the company wants to concentrate almost solely on original IPs and in doing so cut out the costs incurred with licensing. In the case of MLB 2K it has lost over $30 million every year of the deal. Only because the NBA 2K series has become such a huge success does that one seem safe for the coming years otherwise Take Two may have just sold off the 2K Sports division or just shut it all down.
Expect more details on the state of Take Two’s relations with the MLB soon. Following reporting on the absence of both College Hoops and NHL in previous years the company has come out to make statements on their cancellations within a matter of days.
(More on Update) Without seemingly 2K Sports producing an MLB offering the question becomes whether someone like EA could obtain the license – they would need much more favorable terms than the previous agreement – and even if they did whether a game could be produced in time for next year or even this console generation.