The Death of the MLB Video Game

As part of DAR Gaming Week, I will discuss the apparent death of multiple MLB video games.

Growing up, there were a few givens in the video game world. Mario would beat Bowser, Sonic would beat Dr. Robotnik, and there'd always be a new baseball game to help me live out my dreams of being a Cy Young winning pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. Hell, before I even went to my first Orioles game, I'd become versed in the art of the sport through either playing it for real or playing it on the Genesis or SNES.

But, somewhere along the way, the MLB video game, as a whole, started to fall off.

For a sport that's called America's Pastime, over the past decade or so, it hasn't received much love. Now, the games released haven't reached NASCAR-levels of sadness, but there's been a straight-up fall in the quality of most games after 2005. See, in 2005, after EA killed the NFL 2K series through exclusive licensing with the NFL and the NFLPA, 2K set out to do the same with baseball. What we got was quite similar to what happened with Madden. MVP Baseball, EA's MLB game (formerly known as Triple Play Baseball) was amazing. It took the great things about Madden (franchise mode, authentic play, etc.), added in their own quirks (such as the pitching mechanics, some of the best--I mean, the newer baseball games still emulate them to a point), and made a classic representation of Major League Baseball--even down to the minors.

2K bought the exclusive rights to the league and began to crank out even more of its MLB 2K games. Now, originally, they were on-point. Hell, I still play 2K11 to this very day. 2K11 was, for me, the best game of the series; everything that could've been right about it...was. I mean, as weird as it is, some of the graphics in this game are still on-point when considering it against sports games on PS4/XB1.

But, after 2K11, the series fell way the eff off. How far? Well, it fell off to the point that people started to say MLB games weren't overly financially viable. Add in the fact that Sony has the only valid MLB game out (since the 2K exclusivity deal barred all third-party developers from making console MLB games, but not first-party developers), MLB: The Show, and you've got, essentially, the death of the widespread MLB game.

Hopefully, 2K--or someone--will learn and not screw up the license. I mean, Sony's MLB: The Show series picked up, in some ways, where MVP Baseball left off. But, it's a PlayStation exclusive, which leaves XBOX and Nintendo gamers out in the cold. Oh, sure. There's RBI Baseball, but that's arcade-y and has little to no simulation aspects. And, yes, there are MLB games on mobile devices, such as 9 Innings and MLB Perfect Inning, but they're freemium "card-collect" games and they're mobile--so there are going to be things left out. Though, however, Perfect Inning is, a pretty solid game for what it is. It's even got Joe Buck calling the game (sorta).

But, all I ask is that someone, somewhere...please make another MLB game that's not just a one-console exclusive. Even though I'm about to get a PS4 at some point, I still want that competition--as competition allows games to not, ya know, get complacent.

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