The chairman of Take-Two Interactive - the parent company of 2K Sports - called his company's exclusive pact with Major League Baseball a "losing proposition" and suggested they would walk away when the deal expires in 2012.
Strauss Zelnick told Reuters that annualizing a video game risks producing one of lower quality and burning out consumers. While it's a relatively new concept to triple-A franchises like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed, it's been a requirement of sports titles for the past 15 years. Zelnick sounded put off by that as well. While Take-Two is open to renewing its agreement with MLB, he indicated the economics of the deal have to be more favorable.
"It's a losing proposition and we don't have any interest in pursuing losing propositions."
2K's baseball deal expires in 2012. Last year, one analyst estimated its worth at $40 million over its lifespan.
Last year, Zelnick also singled out 2K's baseball titles, blamed a poor-selling and poorly-reviewed MLB 2K9, plus spinoff titles like The Bigs 2 and Front Office Manager, when the company came in under earnings projections (and lost more than $130 million for the year.)
Take-Two, following EA Sports' landmark exclusive pact with the NFL in 2004, secured exclusive third-party rights to produce a Major League Baseball-licensed video game the next year. As 2K Sports lost its popular NFL 2K franchise, EA Sports also said goodbye to its equally popular MVP Baseball series the next year.