PlayStation Studios and San Diego Studio’s MLB The Show 21 is launching as a day one release for Xbox Game Pass. The formerly PlayStation-exclusive first-party baseball series is becoming another feather in the cap of Microsoft’s premiere subscription service, which offers an enormous library of games for subscribers to play. Both the Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One version will be available via Game Pass on April 20th when the game releases, and Ultimate members can also play it on Android phones and tablets via Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta).
The Sony developed and published MLB The Show was revealed to be going cross-platform back at the end of 2019 when Sony Interactive Entertainment extended the MLB licensing partnership. While not explicitly stated, it was presumed at the time that the move to a multi-platform approach was part of those licensing agreements. It’s unknown if the launch on Xbox Game Pass is the result of Microsoft throwing money at it or due to a push from MLB to get the game into more Xbox players’ hands as it enters the new console ecosystem, though the Xbox Wire post announcing the Game Pass launch is written by MLB Senior Vice President of Games & VR Jamie Leece.
“As we said from the beginning, this is an incredible moment for all of us and bringing the franchise to more players and baseball fans is something that we at MLB, MLB Players, Inc., and Xbox are all excited about,” Leece said.
PlayStation players will have to pay $60 for the PS4 version or $70 for the PS5 version. MLB The Show 21 is not heading to either PlayStation Plus or PlayStation Now, Sony’s own subscription services.
Ironically, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan previously shot down the idea of launching first-party PlayStation exclusives via a subscription model. While Xbox is releasing all of its Microsoft Studios games on Game Pass, Sony doesn’t believe the model is sustainable for PlayStation. Speaking a couple months ahead of the PS5 release last year, Ryan said, “We are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model. These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”
The big question is if the Game Pass release of MLB The Show 21, as well the Microsoft acquisition of Bethesda’s catalog and launching Square Enix’s Outriders on Game Pass, will change Sony’s stance. In addition to whatever Microsoft paid to have it launch on Game Pass, Sony will be bringing in revenue from MLB The Show 21’s microtransactions, so having more potential players who may not have purchased it otherwise could prove to be a boon for PlayStation Studios and San Diego Studio.