MLB Show 21 is finally coming to Xbox, and Microsoft confirmed on April 2 that the next part of the long-running series of baseball games would be on the Xbox Game Pass on the launch day on April 20.
Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s video game subscription service, best described as a Netflix for games. For $ 15 a month (often less for new subscribers), players get access to a library of more than 100 titles spanning different genres. As MLB Show 21 will cost as much as $ 70 on the PS5, the Xbox Game Pass presents a far cheaper option to experience the next generation version of the baseball simulator.
Why is MLB Show 21 on Game Pass?
According to PlayStation, the decision to bring MLB Show 21 to multiple platforms and Game Pass came straight from MLB.
“As part of the goal for this year’s game, MLB decided to bring the series to more players and baseball fans,” said a PlayStation representative. Reverse. “This decision provides a unique opportunity to establish further MLB The Show as the leading brand of baseball video games. ”
Sony Interactive Entertainment agreed to support more platforms when it renewed its license agreement with MLB at the end of 2019. MLB seems to have gone further to get the game in the hands of as many players as possible.
Omdia chief analyst George Jijiashvili says Reverse this move is primarily about expanding the series’ reach. “This is about MLB finding a larger audience, which takes precedence over the console manufacturer,” he explains.
Ampere Analysis Research Director Piers Harding-Rolls considers this a practical move on the part of MLB. “From MLB’s point of view, this makes commercial sense, as it opens up content for many more players, especially in the US, but also keeps the established studio going with the game,” explains Harding-Rolls.
“I’m sure [MLB] has looked at revenue generation in the game by other sports franchises like Madden and FIFA with interest and thinking of reach instead of premium sales in this case. ”
According to Ampere’s comments, the Xbox Game Pass now has over 18 million subscribers. As such, it makes a lot of sense for MLB to see it as an attractive opportunity.
Jijiashvili describes the move as a “conscious decision” by Microsoft to “put the cat among the pigeons.” This deal reveals how big a deal Xbox Game Pass is for multi-platform titles, as $ 15 a month is cheaper in the short term than $ 70. In turn, Xbox is starting to become the must-have platform for this Sony title.
Asked about this deal, an Xbox representative reiterated that “We’re curing the library with the diversity of our 18 million members in mind” and that the Day 1 titles “look forward to bringing more new games to our members in the future” as Halo Infinite.
MLB did not respond Reverserequest for comment.
Why are AAA games coming to Game Pass at launch?
Only in April 2021, Outriders and MLB Show 21 – both AAA games from non-Microsoft developers – launched day one on Xbox Game Pass. These big releases seem to defy the notion that games will not make as much profit on a subscription service. So what made publishers change their minds?
For some titles, the launch of the first day of Game Pass is an increasingly risky strategy: It secures an advance payment, offers an engaged audience of over 18 million subscribers who can still monetize in-game expenses, and there is flexibility to remove the title to increase premium sales at a later date if necessary, ”says Harding-Rolls.
“The titles that are not top notch in sales volume or that are based on new IP – ie do not have an established audience – can be solid candidates for day 1 releases,” he adds.
Harding-Rolls points out that Game Pass’s attractiveness to publishers depends on Microsoft’s willingness to spend the money needed to close those deals. Harding-Rolls believes Microsoft paid a steep fee for MLB Show 21 to sweeten the deal for MLB and Sony.
“From Microsoft’s perspective, it’s worth paying a significant sum to secure the game at release,” he explains. Microsoft is not thinking about short-term profitability, as it continues its aggressive content and subscriber acquisition path for Game Pass. Competitive is the optics of this move strong, and it keeps Game Pass speed. ”
Will more PlayStation games come to Game Pass?
MLB Show 21 is a good example of Microsoft’s deep commitment to Game Pass, even though it’s the only Sony-released game to ever end up on the service. According to analysts, this move does not mean fans should expect to see more Sony games coming to Xbox consoles or Game Pass.
“This development is unlikely to have any concrete consequences for future Sony exclusives,” claims Jijiashvili. “I think this was a unique case where the licensee of a game forced Sony’s hand.”
Harding-Rolls comes to a similar conclusion and said, “I do not expect Sony to make a habit of it, no.” Still, the release of MLB Show 21 is a groundbreaking moment, as a Sony game comes to the Xbox Game Pass for the first time.
MLB Show 21 will be released for PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S April 20th.