Cal Ripken's Real Baseball, formerly known as Ultimate Baseball Online, is the first free-to-play baseball based massively multiplayer online sports game (MMOSG) developed and published by Netamin Communication Corporation.
Real Baseball has been developed for nearly four years, with Darrell Evans once acting as spokesperson for the game. The current version of the game will be replaced by a completely revamped version in Q3 2008.
On September 25, 2006, Netamin Communication Corporation announced the adoption of a pay-to-play monthly subscription model for its game. The plan was scrapped shortly before the new subscription model came into effect. It was announced that Netamin will instead adopt an free-to-play in-game advertising model instead.
UBO 2007 included the awarding of Power Ranking Points for teams, based on their performance in a wide variety of UBO leagues and tournaments. Points are accumulated throughout the year, with the top 64 UBO teams earning a berth in competition dubbed the "Best of UBO" event.
DMA (Designers Management Agency) formalized the partnership between Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. and Netamin Communication Corporation, creating Cal Ripken’s Real Baseball, a free online video game and community for baseball enthusiasts around the world. Cal Ripken’s Real Baseball (www.PlayRealBaseball.com) is the new name of the community/video game which was previously known as Ultimate Baseball Online or UBO. The newly named game launched from Disney’s ESPN The Weekend on February 28th and received over 10,000 downloads within the first 72 hours of availability.
Cal Ripken’s Real Baseball enables gamers to compete in a Massively Multiplayer Online Sport Game (MMOSG), meaning each position on the field is manned by a human player in a 3-D virtual stadium. Players can create their own characters and build their skill level (player stats) through successful play on the field against other real human players. Unlike current video games that aim to simulate professional sports, Real Baseball (RB) delivers a third-person perspective of a character, created and developed by the player, interacting online in real-time with teammates and opponents playing from numerous locations.
“I am very pleased that Cal Ripken, Jr. and Netamin have come together to create a fun, innovative, and technologically patented Baseball Game for fans worldwide to enjoy,” said Marc Beckman, founder and CEO of DMA. “From a business POV, the match makes a lot of sense; Cal will provide the programmers with a certain level of authenticity that would not be achievable otherwise.”
A client of DMA, Ripken is baseball’s all-time “Iron Man” having played 16 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles and playing in a record, 2,632 straight games. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
Real Baseball was created by Andy Wang, founder and CEO of Netamin Communication Corporation, the first company in the world to develop the technology to build a Massively Multiplayer Online Sports Game (MMSOG). Netamin is headquartered in Diamond Bar, California with additional operations in Korea Other deals DMA has structured for Ripken include a developmental deal incorporating a documentary being produced by Renegade Studios about Ripken’s Sports Envoy trip to China in October 2007: a Fathead in which Ripken became the first retired athlete to be produced: specialty gift cards to be launched nationwide in 2008. DMA is also close to finalizing a deal for Ripken and Major League Baseball.
Real Baseball has been in existence for three years in a beta mode under the name Ultimate Baseball Online, and currently boasts approximately 7,000 players worldwide. Over the past three years Ultimate Baseball Online have seen strong participation in the United States, Canada, Taiwan, Korea, England, Italy, South Africa, Brazil and Australia.
ABOUT DMA (www.DesignersManagement.com) DMA provides talent representation and intellectual property business solutions through services such as co-branding, licensing, mergers and acquisitions, creative director placement and sponsorships. Clients include Cal Ripken, Jr., Nick Lachey, Mandy Moore’s Mblem, Varsity Spirit, IAC, Oscar de la Renta, Virgin Spa, Stella McCartney, Jones Apparel Group (Anne Klein, Nine West, Easy Spirit), Council of Fashion Designers of America and the Weinstein Company’s Project Runway.
In September 2008, shortly after introducing a system allowing players the option of purchasing levels by credit card, Netamin shut down their website, and turned off all gameservers. No information was released to the public regarding the sudden shutdown of Real Baseball Online, Netamin or possible refunds. It is currently unknown if Netamin will re-publish Real Baseball Online, or even keep running as a company.
Real Baseball is a massively multiplayer online sports game capable of fielding up to 18 players a game, occupying all active positions in the game of baseball. However, players often refuse to field 18 due to lag and synchronization issues. Game characters are based on a level of ranks for a specific range of levels, from 0-99, with 99 being the maximum level attained. The game-coded team names of Home and Away team are used instead of the player created team names; therefore, players can play with each other in normal servers regardless of the team they belong. Team play is only enforced however, as expected, in Team Tournaments and the UBO League. Game settings also allows the option day and night of three, six, and nine inning games, with extra innings if necessary in two stadiums.
Batting power is amplified through the addition of parameter points in body strength and stamina.
Catching Range is the primary statistic associated with fielding. In the event a full game is not reached, the AI takes the field and plays the position.
Real Baseball hosts seasonal leagues that feature multiple teams of different levels playing against each other for the championship. Managed and run by Netamin and Game Masters, there are currently three league classes: MVP, All-Star, and Major.
Current Leagues include a 10-game regular season for all participating teams, 3-game wildcard playoffs, 4-game division finals, and a 5-game league championship for eligible teams. Press Coverage and Awards are also presented during the league seasons written by the official game press and players. Winners of RBO Leagues qualify themselves into the Best of RBO competition.
Much of the player base was angered by such a move, as Netamin had recently implemented a level-buying system. Some players had forked over hundreds of dollars on their characters. This prompt shutdown of the game was incredibly saddening to the community, as the Netamin failed to provide any further information about the shutdown.
On October 8th, 2008, www.netamin.com returned to its old self, signifying some gleam of hope for all players. It has been posted on playrealbaseball.com forums that "RBO or some form of RBO will return", however, no time table is announced.