Major League Baseball’s “At Bat” has been one of our favourite iPhone apps since the platform launched in July. And we’re part of a decent crowd of buyers: MLB tells us that approximately 75,000 people have purchased the $5 app. That means the league has generated about $263,000 in revenue from it so far, after Apple’s 30% cut — not enough to pay a baseball player’s salary at the league minimum, but nothing to sneeze at.
Next up for At Bat: An upgrade in time for the last month of the season, including new “Gameday” mode, which replicates some of the live graphical features from MLB’s Web site. The new features, presumably coming sometime today, from the league’s release:
- Live graphical representation of the batter-pitcher matchup, including a running play-by-play and identifying data for every pitch thrown (location, pitch type and pitch speed) generated directly from every Major League ballpark.
- Field View – This view provides a graphical look at the live status of the field, including every fielder, the batter and any runners on base. Each player name is clickable through to an individual player card with each player’s biographical information, headshot and updated statistics.
- Boxscore – A running boxscore from the selected game also includes clickable player names that deliver individual player cards.
- Summary – A live full play-by-play summary of the selected game also includes a separate review of every scoring play.
These features will help, but what makes At Bat special is its near-live, in-game video highlights. As we said earlier this summer, this is the kind of mobile video — not long-form programming — that we think people will pay to watch.
One improvement we hope they make next year: Figuring out a better way to transmit/cache video to iPhones so it’s watchable when you’re not connected to a wi-fi hotspot. In our experience, at least, MLB’s video quality is poor using AT&T’s 3G network — the network doesn’t seem to be able to keep up with the video stream, so you can’t see the ball — and actually a bit better using the slower EDGE network, which seems to access a lower-definition video stream that plays back clearly.
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