Few noticed back in April, if it was even announced stateside, that EA Sports' MVP Baseball series was returning as an online game in South Korea. It's an interesting re-emergence of a brand many sports gamers remember fondly, but it offers little hope of the game actually returning in North America.
MVP Baseball Online, in that video noticed by Operation Sports earlier today, will be one of three online baseball games in that country. It's a joint venture of EA Sports and NCSoft, which owns an expansion baseball team in the Korean Baseball Organization, so the project is expected to have full league licensing there. Interestingly, 2K Sports, which is expected not to publish an MLB game next year in North America, is working with Nexon on an online baseball game in the same country.
Kotaku sent an email to an EA Sports representative to inquire about the project but the message was not returned at publication time. Any comment the label makes will be updated here.
But don't get your hopes up. When pressed about the potential return of MVP, EA Sports has waved off the possibility in ways stronger than the usual "no plans at this time," you hear from video game publishers. Andrew Wilson, the label's boss, said EA Sports' new-game focus is on its upcoming UFC game. To ESPN, he flatly said EA Sports was not working on MVP. Scuttlebutt has it that EA Sports will wait until the next console generation if it's going to get back into baseball in North America.
MVP Baseball's last MLB-licensed game was published in 2005, and it was widely acclaimed. An exclusive deal between 2K Sports and Major League Baseball drove it out of the market. As that licence is set to expire this year, and the end of MLB 2K is practically confirmed, Xbox 360-owning baseball fans are concerned there'll be no MLB-licensed product for their system in 2013. This news wouldn't figure to change that.