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Sports Interactive opts for digital download on Out of the Park Baseball

London-based Sports Interactive has announced that Out of the Park Baseball Manager 2006, due for release in spring, will be exclusively available via online digital download.

London-based Sports Interactive has announced that its forthcoming baseball management title, Out of the Park Baseball Manager 2006, will be exclusively available via online digital distribution when it is launched next spring.

The latest incarnation of the acclaimed OOTP Baseball franchise, which has already seen five successful versions to date, is the first title to be co-produced following the amalgamation of the development team at OOTP Developments into Sports Interactive.

Creating sports management titles since 1997, Out of the Park Developments has established its baseball management simulator as the highest rated game of its kind on the market. The move to Sports Interactive, famed for its Football Manager franchise, has afforded the team access to a wide array of assets, tools and expertise, resulting in a large number of improvements and additions to the franchise.

Markus Heinsohn, lead developer of OOTP Baseball Manager said: "The move to SI definitely takes the game to a whole new level. "Being able to code the new version from scratch, whilst learning from the massive SI code library, is something that we all felt would help the game tremendously. But even I am blown away by the results. Out of the Park Baseball Manager 2006 is by far the best version of the game we have ever developed."

Due to licensing issues with some of the largest baseball leagues, the game will be the first in SI's portfolio of management sims to focus entirely on digital distribution when it enters the market in spring. Whilst digital download for patches and selected titles has worked positively as an additional delivery method for the company in the past, OOTB Baseball 2006 will not receive a physical boxed release in the traditional manner. contacted Sports Interactive's managing director, Miles Jacobson, who suggested that the lack of a license from the major baseball leagues could hamper the potential circulation of the title in its most significant territory, prompting the change in focus to an entirely digital distribution method.

The change had a knock-on effect in terms of the company's publishing partnership with SEGA, which Jacobson explains: "When it became apparent that collectively we couldn't get a license, we asked for the rights back, and SEGA kindly agreed. We may well get them involved again in the future if the license did become available."

The relationship with the Japanese publishing giant remains solid, and Sports Interactive are still exclusively signed to SEGA as a studio, for all other current and future releases.

A dedicated website has been created to promote the forthcoming release, including developer blogs charting the game's production. Pre-orders and purchase of OOTP Baseball can be made through the site, which is at, or by visiting the main Sports Interactive website.

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