Yesterday, Microsoft shocked the gaming world when they announced that MLB: The Show 21, formerly a PlayStation-exclusive franchise, was coming to Xbox Game Pass on launch day.
It was already known that The Show 21 would be released on Xbox, but having that flip from being PlayStation exclusive since 2006 to “free”
Here’s a rough timeline of what’s apparently happened here, and where we are now:
- In order for Sony to retain the rights to The Show, part of their new MLB agreement was that the game had to be multiplatform, hence the release on Xbox.
- But it seems that Microsoft went directly to MLB to try to work out a deal to get it on Game Pass as well. The publisher of the Xbox version is listed as MLB, not Sony. And some (very large) money was probably paid to make it happen.
- Now we have a situation where The Show has gone from being a Sony-exclusive franchise for 15 years to being on Xbox Game Pass Day one, with the game still being built by San Diego Studios, a first-rate Sony developer.
- The PlayStation version of the show is listed for $ 70, while it seems that the only way to get both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game together is an $ 85 package.
In short, ouch.
While this is not like Microsoft stealing Kratos or Nathan Drake or something, it is not that far away, frankly, and they have deftly outmaneuvered Sony here, which has now effectively produced a highly coveted Game Pass game. I guess it is possible that Sony / San Diego received some money for all this, as who knows exactly the fine print of these offers, but most of this seems driven by MLB where the wanted their baseball game on multiple platforms, and if MS will pay them for Game Pass access? Sure, why not.
Microsoft has always tried to force this advantage over Sony, especially this generation, where Game Pass seems like a good alternative to expensive games, but usually compares things like Gears 5 or Sea of Thieves with God of War or Ghost of Tsushima . Varieties of apples and oranges and fans can argue that these games are “worth” the full price of PlayStation, and are just better games in general. But here is an example of the same game, where Sony, who made the game, notes it at $ 70 on PlayStation while Xbox gamers simply get it with Game Pass. It’s wild. This type happened to Ouriders as well, another third-party game Xbox snapped up for a Game Pass launch while Sony sells it at full price, but the difference is that a Sony studio did not make Outriders.
Game Pass will continue to be a thorn in Sony’s side indefinitely here, and they reportedly have no plans to match it past their current PS Plus / Now offer, and things like the PS Plus Collection, a great package of great , free games for players. But for new releases, you can bet that we continue to see Microsoft make moves like this, but what they have done with The Show here is on a completely different level.
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