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Sunday, September 23, 2007

OOTP & Sega/SI part ways

I know some of you out there are fans of the Out of the Park franchise of computer video games. I myself have put in untold days of time over the past half-decade that I've been playing those games. So I thought this was worth mentioning:

OOTP Developments, who ~two years ago joined up with Sports Interactive to overhaul their baseball management program, with the goal of incorporating the code from Sports Interactive's Football Manager program. While initial results weren't particularly good, OOTP 2007 is probably the best game of in this history of the franchise.

On Thursday, OOTP split from from Sega, who had recently purchased Sports Interactive. OOTP Developments still owns the code from the game, so this should have no lasting consequences for the future of the franchise except that they no longer have Sega as a publisher (which may or may not be a big deal).

The primary reason for the split seems to be Sports Interactive's difficulting in producing a product with licenses from MLB and MLBPA. What puzzles me about this is that while MLB has been very stingy about issuing licenses, the recent fantasy baseball court decisions (still in appeal, AFAIK) draw into question whether such licenses are even necessary, at least for player names and statistics. OOTP's developers have indicated that they are considering releasing a version with MLB player names in light of those decisions, so it seems like a bad time for Sega to give up on OOTP if having a product with real player rosters was their ultimate goal.

Additional speculation on the forums (though it was denied by Markus) indicates that Sega was primarily just interested in acquiring the hugely successful Football Manager game when they acquired Sports Interactive, and are now discarding what remains of the other components of SI's portfolio.

Anyway, hopefully OOTP will continue to progress in its development. It continues to be a great distraction for me, especially during the offseason...or at those times when the Reds are just too unbearable to watch! :)