Yesterday, Microsoft shocked the gaming world when it announced that MLB: The Show 21, previously a PlayStation exclusive franchise, would be coming to Xbox Game Pass on launch day.
It was already known that The Show 21 would be released on Xbox, but having that change from being a PlayStation exclusive from 2006 to “free” on Game Pass is a wild change, and right now, this is all an extremely bad look for Sony, more than the usual “Game Pass has X new version” situation.
Here’s a rough timeline of what apparently happened here and where we are now:
- In order for Sony to retain the rights to The Show, part of their new deal with MLB was that the game had to be cross-platform, hence the Xbox release.
- But it seems that Microsoft went directly to MLB to try to reach an agreement to get it on Game Pass as well. The publisher for the Xbox version is listed as MLB, not Sony. And therefore a (very large) amount of money was probably paid for that to happen.
- We now have a situation where The Show has gone from being a Sony exclusive franchise for 15 years to being on Xbox Game Pass from day one, with the game still being built by San Diego Studios, a Sony developer.
- The PlayStation version of the show is priced at $ 70, while it seems like the only way to put the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game together is an $ 85 bundle.
In short, ay.
While this isn’t like Microsoft stole Kratos or Nathan Drake or something like that, it’s not that Far away, honestly, and they’ve deftly surpassed Sony here, which has now effectively produced a much-requested Game Pass game. I suppose Sony / San Diego may have gotten a certain amount of money for all of this, since who knows the exact fine print on these offers, but most of this seems to be driven by MLB where they Did you want your baseball game on more platforms, and if MS would pay you 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 full-price games, but it generally compares things like Gears 5 or Sea of Thieves to God of War or Ghost of Tsushima. Some kind of apples and oranges and fans could argue that those games are “worth” full price on PlayStation, and that they are simply better games overall. But here, this is an example of the same game, where Sony, who made the game, lists it for $ 70 on PlayStation, while Xbox gamers simply get it with Game Pass. That is wild. This also happened with Ouriders, another third-party game that Xbox acquired for a Game Pass release while Sony is selling it at full price, but the difference is that a Sony studio did not make Outriders.
Game Pass will remain a thorn in Sony’s side indefinitely here, and they reportedly have no plans to match it beyond their current PS Plus / Now offerings, and things like the PS Plus Collection, a great bundle of free games. great for gamers. But for new releases, you can bet we’ll keep seeing Microsoft making moves like this, but what they’ve done with The Show here is on another level altogether.
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