It's not the return of MVP Baseball, the long lost and lamented Major League Baseball title that went into exile after 2005, but EA Sports has gotten back on the field with MLB in World Series Superstars, a Facebook game rumored to be in development that launched by surprise today.
World Series Superstars plays the same as EA Sports' two earlier card-collecting entries on Facebook, last year's FIFA Superstars and Madden NFL Superstars. Acquire in-game currency, use it to buy packs of cards, use the players and boosts from those packs to upgrade your team.
It's free-to-play, pay-to-upgrade; the app has a short tutorial, and anyone who played FIFA or Madden will understand how it works immediately.
Given how baseball is the original card-collecting sport, it was a natural for this sort of thing and really only a matter of time until we saw it.
2K Sports' exclusive third-party developer's license with MLB, which established MLB 2K as the only game available on all platforms other than the PS3, does not cover browser-based games, which were nowhere near the revenue stream in 2005 that they are now. That's how Sega's MLB Manager Online, a more fully featured freemium managment sim, was able to launch earlier this month.
World Series Superstars [Facebook]