Since the announcement, details have been scarce. With MLB spring training games getting underway and the regular season just around the corner, RBI Baseball still has a vague release window of “Spring 2014″ and no screenshots or further information has been announced.
MLB Striking Out on Xbox
When EA Sports struck an exclusive rights deal with the NFL in 2005, Take Two responded by acquiring the exclusive third-party rights to MLB. Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony would all be alllowed to produce their own MLB titles for their consoles but it marked the end of EA’s MVP Baseball series. PlayStation owners were awarded with Sony’s MLB The Show series, but Microsoft left Xbox users with no options outside of Take Two’s MLB 2K franchise.
Last year’s MLB 2K13 was the last iteration of the series. The franchise had continuously left players disappointed but MLB 2K13 was merely a phoned-in roster update of MLB 2K12. The cancellation of the franchise opened the door for RBI Baseball 14, a revival of a long-dormant series developed by MLB AM.
What Type of Game is RBI Baseball?
There are many questions surrounding RBI Baseball 14 that have yet to be answered. It is easy to assume the game will be a straight simulation title. However, Sony has advertised MLB 14 The Show as the only simulation title available for next-gen consoles. Additionally, it would take a huge development process to create a full sim.
It is likely that RBI Baseball 14 will be a stripped-down sim made available as a downloadable title. A sim with a lack of features would allow MLB AM to build a foundation for the future of the franchise. RBI Baseball 14 could also be an arcade title that makes baseball more accessible to all types of players.
RBI Baseball’s Special Relationship with MLB
Because RBI Baseball 14 is being developed by MLB AM, the game has the advantage of a direct relationship with MLB. What that means, if anything, remains to be seen. In order to be successful in its first year, RBI Baseball 14 needs to expose this distinct advantage.
Legendary players or rosters, ties to MLB.com fantasy baseball, regularly updated lineups and storylines, and accurate minor league players are all ways that RBI Baseball 14 can stand out from its competition. If the game fails to generate interest, it will wind up ignored in the same way recent iterations of the MLB 2K franchise were.
Will RBI Baseball Be a Home Run?
With the MLB season on the horizon, there have been no screenshots or further details regarding RBI Baseball 14. In fact, it is unlikely the game will release in time for the season’s first pitch. Since the game’s announcement, MLB AM has failed to generate consumer interest in the game.
MLB AM is not a video game developer. The company most notably runs the official websites for MLB and all 30 MLB teams and created the MLB At Bat app. MLB AM also worked with developers to create mobile games including MLB Ballpark Empire and MLB.com Home Run Derby.
The future of MLB-licensed third-party support is still up in the air. RBI Baseball 14 will play an important role in showcasing baseball’s appeal amongst gamers. It is clear that MLB had to produce their own product because no established company was willing to enter the market. Whether that changes in the future will be dependant on the success of RBI Baseball 14.