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Major League Baseball Takes Matters Into Its Own Hands, Announces New RBI Baseball

Classic baseball series planned to return to old consoles, current consoles, tablets, and phones.

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I'd been wondering aloud lately about the status of the R.B.I. Baseball license. The game was originally created by Namco, but that game (part of Namco's Family Stadium franchise) was taken by Tengen (Atari under a different name) and released for the NES without a license! It was one of those crazy black carts, but a licensed version was also released. It, along with Baseball Stars, serves as one of the greatest console baseball games of all time, and any other answer you may think to provide is actually completely incorrect.

OK, I'll accept that you might really like Baseball Simulator 1.000. That first Griffey game for the SNES was really good, too.

Anyway, last developments in the RBI saga went cold years ago. Midway eventually purchased the Atari/Tengen assets, but I was told that the baseball license was sold off separately, well before Midway's last-gasp sale to Warner Brothers. An in-development game called RBI Baseball showed up for the Xbox 360, with a company called Six Degrees Games at the helm. It was never released.

Today, Major League Baseball--like, the league--announced that it's getting into the video game business proper. And its first title? R.B.I. Baseball 14. Weird, right? Specifically, this would come from the company's Advanced Media arm, which was in the news last week as the partner for WWE's soon-to-launch streaming video service, the WWE Network.

The title is planned for release this Spring and is listed as a release for "current and next generation consoles and smartphones and tablets." One can only presume that this means Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, and iOS devices, but heck, I'm just guessing at this point.

Can a new RBI Baseball game come out and not be terrible? Can a developer that's primarily known for making solid streaming video services possibly develop a solid arcade-style baseball game? Do I seem prophetic for running my look back at the original RBI Baseball a little over a week ago? Those are just a few of the questions that come to mind. Here's said look back at the original RBI Baseball, by the way...

MLB has registered a Twitter account for the game at @rbigame. Crazy, right?

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+