‘MLB the Show 21’ on Game Pass redefines the rivalry between Xbox and PlayStation

MLB The Show 21 It’s finally coming to Xbox, and Microsoft confirmed on April 2 that the next installment in the long-running baseball game franchise would be on Xbox Game Pass on launch day, April 20.

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft’s video game subscription service, best described as Netflix for games. For $ 15 a month (often less for new subscribers), players get access to a library of more than 100 titles spanning various genres. What MLB The Show 21 Costing a whopping $ 70 on PS5, Xbox Game Pass presents a much cheaper alternative to experiencing the next-gen version of the baseball simulator.

It’s an unexpected move from Sony, which has long kept its source IP exclusive for its PlayStation consoles. So does this mean that we could see more games made by Sony on Xbox hardware in the future? We spoke with two industry analysts and representatives from Sony and Microsoft to better understand how this unprecedented deal happened and what it could mean for games in the months and years to come.

Because it is MLB The Show 21 on Game Pass?

According to PlayStation, the decision to bring MLB The Show 21 to more platforms and Game Pass came straight from MLB.

“As part of the goal of this year’s game, MLB decided to bring the franchise to more baseball players and fans,” says a PlayStation representative. Reverse. “This decision provides a unique opportunity to establish even more MLB the show as the leading baseball video game brand. “

Sony Interactive Entertainment agreed to support more platforms when it renewed its licensing agreement with MLB at the end of 2019. MLB seems to have gone above and beyond to put the game in the hands of as many players as possible.

Omdia Principal Analyst George Jijiashvili says Reverse This move is primarily about expanding the scope of the series. “It’s about MLB finding a bigger audience, which took precedence over the console manufacturers’ jousts,” he explains.

Ampere Analysis research director Piers Harding-Rolls sees this as a practical move on MLB’s part. “From an MLB point of view, this makes business sense as it opens up the content to a lot more players, especially in the United States, but it also keeps the established studio working on the game,” Harding-Rolls explains.

“I’m sure [MLB] has been watching in-game monetization from other sports game franchises, such as To get mad and FIFA looking forward to and thinking about audience reach rather than premium sales in this case. “

According to Ampere’s comments, Xbox Game Pass now has more than 18 million subscribers. As such, it makes perfect sense for MLB to see it as an attractive opportunity.

April 2020 is one of the best months for Xbox Game Pass thanks to Outriders and MLB The Show 21.Sony interactive entertainment

Jijiashvili describes the move as a “conscious decision” by Microsoft to “put the cat among the pigeons.” This deal exposes how excellent Xbox Game Pass is for cross-platform titles, as $ 15 a month is cheaper in the short term than $ 70. In turn, Xbox begins to become the must-have platform for this Sony title.

When asked about this deal, an Xbox representative reiterated that “we selected the library with the diversity of our 18 million members in mind” and that, for Day One titles, “they hope to bring more new games to our members in the future”. I like Infinite halo.

MLB did not respond to ReverseRequest for comments.

Why are AAA games coming to Game Pass at launch?

Only in April 2021, Outriders and MLB The Show 21 – Both AAA games from non-Microsoft developers – were released on day one on Xbox Game Pass. These major releases seem to challenge perceptions that games won’t generate as big of a profit on a subscription service. So what prompted editors to change their minds?

“For some titles, the first-day launch on Game Pass is an increasingly risk-averse strategy: it ensures an upfront payment, offers an engaged audience of over 18 million subscribers that can still be monetized through spending on the game, and there is the flexibility to remove the title to drive premium sales at a later date if necessary, “says Harding-Rolls.

“Those titles that are not top notch in terms of sales volume or that are based on a new IP, that is, that do not have an established audience, could be strong candidates for the first day launches,” he adds.

The versions Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S of MLB The Show 21 both are available through Xbox Game Pass.Sony interactive entertainment

Harding-Rolls notes that Game Pass’s appeal to publishers is based on Microsoft’s willingness to spend the money necessary to close these deals. Harding-Rolls believes that Microsoft paid a high fee for MLB The Show 21 to sweeten the deal for MLB and Sony.

“From Microsoft’s perspective, even paying a substantial sum to secure the game at launch is worth it,” he explains. “Microsoft is not thinking about profitability in the short term as it continues its aggressive path of acquiring content and subscribers for Game Pass. Competitively, the optics for this move are strong and keep Game Pass momentum on the rise. “

Are more PlayStation games coming to Game Pass?

MLB The Show 21 is an excellent example of Microsoft’s deep commitment to Game Pass, even if it is the only game released by Sony to terminate the service. According to analysts, this move does not mean that fans should expect to see more Sony games on Xbox or Game Pass consoles.

“This development is unlikely to have tangible ramifications for future Sony exclusives,” says Jijiashvili. “I think this was a unique case, where the licensee of a game forced Sony.”

Harding-Rolls comes to a similar conclusion and says, “I don’t expect Sony to become a habit, no.” Still, the launch of MLB The Show 21 It’s a groundbreaking moment as a Sony game comes to Xbox Game Pass for the first time.

MLB The Show 21 will be released for PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S on April 20.

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