EA Sports already has a huge chunk of the console game market for sports games. Its 2009 acquisition of social game developer Playfish began a quest to get the same market share on Facebook. EA currently has NFL Football, PGA Golf and FIFA Soccer games in its social media stable. ESPN is reporting that EA Sports is working on a Major League Baseball Facebook game.
EA didn’t renew its contract for console baseball games, but Facebook has its own set of licensing agreements. If it follows the pattern of most Facebook sports titles, it will be more of a management sim/card collecting game. The actual “playing” in such games generally happens during cutscenes. These games are a perfect middle ground for players who love sports but don’t want to devote hours to learning Madden NFL’s playbooks or mastering the analog controls that are the rage in current console baseball efforts.
There’s no definite word on when this game is coming. Rumblings about EA’s NFL effort Madden Superstars got stronger closer to the beginning of the 2010 football season. It’s possible we could see something from EA and Playfish this baseball season, which gets underway March 31, 2011. ESPN’s Jon Robinson also notes that the exclusive deal between MLB and 2K Sports ends in 2012. Is Facebook EA’s only baseball destination or might it throw a curve ball back into the console stadium?