Though Take-Two has a licensing deal with Major League Baseball that covers most baseball games, Electronic Arts has partnered with the organization to release an MLB social game on Facebook.
Timed to launch with the beginning of the 2011 baseball season, World Series Superstars allows users to build and manage MLB teams, earn coins and experience by playing against other teams (including teams managed by their friends), and buy more players and upgrades to their stadiums.
The game is developed by EA's Playfish division, which previously took advantage of EA's licensing deals to create social games based on the publisher's popular Madden and FIFA franchises. Madden NFL Superstars and FIFA Superstars have 1.5 million and 3.5 million monthly users respectively on Facebook.
Rival publisher Take-Two has had an exclusive third-party licensing contract with the MLB since 2005 (expiring at the end of the 2012 season), but that agreement did not cover games released on Facebook -- Electronic Arts evidently took advantage of that loophole to work out this deal with the MLB.
"It might be a good signal that EA is in MLB's good graces and they might be about to take the license away from Take-Two," speculated Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, though he questioned the profitability of baseball games for publishers, according to a report from CNBC.