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2K Sports Major League Baseball series is a series of Major League Baseball video games, developed by Visual Concepts and Kush Games, and published by 2K Games. There have been 8 games in the series: 2K4, 2K5, World Series 2K5, 2K6, 2K7, 2K8, 2K9 and 2K10. All games were created for each MLB season. The series was created in 2004 after Visual Concepts teamed up with ESPN. Visual Concepts called the series World Series Baseball in years prior to 2004 for the Dreamcast, with Pedro Martínez as the cover athlete.
The first edition of the series was released on March 1, 2004 on the Xbox console, and on May 4 for the PlayStation 2. The first game, ESPN Major League Baseball had the ESPN license. The player on the cover was New York Yankees 1st baseman Jason Giambi. Reviewers and critics said that the game had roster mistakes and glitches.
Although the 2005 edition, Major League Baseball 2K5, had the ESPN taken out of its title, it was still powered by ESPN. The game included Web Gems instant replays, K-Zone pitching, Slam Zone hitting, and baserunner mode. The game was released in late February 2005 on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox consoles. The cover baseball player was Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter. Later that year, World Series 2K5 was released during the 2005 MLB postseason.
In 2005, in response to EA Sports' exclusive license with the National Football League and ESPN prohibiting any NFL 2K games for the foreseeable future, Take-Two Interactive signed an exclusive third-party licensing contract with Major League Baseball (MLB), MLBPA and MLBAM to produce MLB games. The agreement, which runs from Spring 2006 to 2012, allows for the console manufacturers Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo to produce MLB titles for their respective platforms, but bars third party developers such as EA Sports from continuing or developing their own MLB games.
The 2006 edition, Major League Baseball 2K6, had the ESPN presentation and trademarks removed but the commentary team of Jon Miller and Joe Morgan remained intact. The game included Inside Edge scouting, Swing Stick hitting, and Payoff Pitching. The game was released on April 3, 2006 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox; April 10 for the Xbox 360, and April 13 for the PSP. The game was also released for the GameCube, making it the first and only 2K Games title to ever appear on the system. The cover baseball player was once again Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.
The 2007 edition, Major League Baseball 2K7, featured a major overhaul on the "next gen" systems, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, featuring a near-photorealistic pitcher/batter interface. For the third year in a row, Derek Jeter was the cover player. The GameCube was dropped as a platform, and the Wii version was not developed. The major leap in gameplay and graphics were largely attributed to the addition of Ben Brinkman to Kush Games; Brinkman had been the lead developer for the MVP Baseball series of games.
The 2008 edition, Major League Baseball 2K8 was available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and, for the first time, the Wii. José Reyes was the new cover athlete, taking over for Jeter. A special version of the game was developed for the Nintendo DS called Major League Baseball 2K8 Fantasy All-Stars, which featured fantasy elements such as power ups and fantasy stadiums. MLB Stickball was released on Xbox Live Arcade.
The 2009 edition, Major League Baseball 2K9, represents the final act of a planned three year development cycle that started with 2K7. Tim Lincecum replaced Reyes as the cover athlete, and will be released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii, and, for the first time, Windows PCs. The game changed announcers as well; MLB 2K9 replaced Jon Miller and Joe Morgan with Gary Thorne for play by play and Steve Phillips for color commentary. MLB Front Office Manager represents the first foray into sports management games for 2K Sports, as well as the second PC game, after NBA 2K9. Major League Baseball 2K9 Fantasy All-Stars was the second in the series for the Nintendo DS.
Major League Baseball 2K10, like its counterpart NBA 2K10, is being feted over its 10th anniversary, and was released for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS and Wii. Evan Longoria replaced Tim Lincecum as the new cover athlete.