As if it wasn’t already weird enough that a PlayStation Studios game is coming to Xbox, Microsoft has announced that MLB The Show 21 will be added to Xbox Game Pass on the day of launch, 20th April 2021.
MLB The Show 21 comes in two versions for the two different generations, for those buying the PS4 or Xbox One Standard Editions of the game there will be no way to upgrade to the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S release. However, similar situation to NBA 2K21, the Collector’s Editions of the game act as cross-gen bundles.
That doesn’t matter one bit via Game Pass, though. Both standard versions of the game for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One versions of the game will be available via Game Pass, and you can also play the Xbox One version via Xbox Cloud Gaming on Android.
Not only does Game Pass give the game to subscribers on Xbox, but they also get both generations of the game (unlike when NBA 2K21 was added to Game Pass last month). That’s one hell of a talking point when you remember that Sony has set the PS5 (and by extension the Xbox Series X|S) game price to $69.99/£69.99/€79.99.
They aren’t even being siloed off in their own ecosystem. MBL The Show 21 comes with full cross-play multiplayer in two guises. There’s cross-play between platforms – PlayStation and Xbox – and between generations within a platform – PS4 to PS5 and Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S – though seemingly not both at the same time. The way the FAQ reads, Xbox Series X players cannot go up against PlayStation 4 players.
All of this is thoroughly weird, though. The MLB license has been exclusive to PlayStation for an awfully long time, starting way back with MLB ’98 when San Diego Studio was known as Sony Interactive Studios America, and then 989 Sports from 1998 to 2005. The series was rebranded as ‘The Show’ in 2006, and has been a staple of Sony’s consoles across PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, regularly cited as one of the best sports games going.
At the start of 2021, it was confirmed that MLB The Show was going multiplatform for the first time this year, following on from the licensing agreement signed at the end of 2019 to keep the MLB license at Sony for the foreseeable future. I don’t think anyone expected the playing field to tip so heavily in Microsoft’s favour with Xbox Game Pass, though.
Update: As an additional point, MBL The Show 21 is published on Xbox by MLB, not Sony, who likely had no part in the decision to have the game appear on Game Pass.
If only PlayStation had a comparable game subscription service? That would be really useful to hype up right around Now, wouldn’t it?
MLB The Show 21 will be out for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and via Xbox Cloud Gaming for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers on 20th April.