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Out of the Park Baseball 17 launches March 22, with real players in the lineup

A first for the venerable management simulation

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Out of the Park Baseball, the acclaimed management simulation for PC, will return in time for opening day with Out of the Park Baseball 17, the first edition of the series to be licensed by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

This makes the third current and fully licensed (both a league and its players' union) MLB video game for consoles and PC, a rarity in sports video gaming as publishers have balked at high costs and shut down licensed franchises. No other sport has more than two.

Out of the Park Baseball 17 differs from MLB The Show 16, a traditional baseball sim, and the MLB-developed R.B.I. Baseball 16 in that it focuses more on personnel management — acquisition, development, scouting and trading — than in-game action, much like Football Manager, Sega's soccer title on PC. The addition of a players' association license means the images of real players will appear throughout the game's basic roster, along with their ratings and other attributes.

Last year the game became officially licensed by Major League Baseball for the first time in its 17-year history, meaning players could control one of the 30 real clubs in MLB for the first time. This year, Out of the Park Baseball 17 launches on PC, Mac and Linux on March 22, and on April 3, it will receive a full roster update reflecting the real-world opening day 40-man rosters of all 30 clubs, as well as their complete minor league systems. Additionally, minor league systems are intact and accurate for those who start major league franchises in the past, between 1919 and 2015.

Out of the Park Baseball 17 will also include independent minor leagues in the United States OOTP 17 and international professional leagues from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Mexico, Cuba, Italy, Australia, and The Netherlands, all with real players. For more information, see the game's official page.

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