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The baseball title, which is also coming to PlayStation consoles as a $60/$70 release, will be free to Xbox Game Pass subscribers on its release date of April 20 for Series X/S and Xbox One, MLB’s games team announced on Friday.
“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,” said MLB’s games VP, Jamie Leece in a statement.
“We can’t wait for Xbox fans to experience the fastest, deepest, and most intense moment-to-moment baseball action yet. With pinpoint pitching, brand new fielding mechanics, and gameplay styles, Xbox gamers are in for a treat when MLB The Show 21 launches on April 20.”
The 2021 edition is developed by Sony Interactive Entertainment’s San Diego Studio and marks the first time Sony is bringing the game to a non-PlayStation system, with it coming to the Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
It was first announced in December 2019 that the franchise would be coming to “additional console platforms” for the first time, as part of a multi-year extension to Sony’s video games licensing deal.
Although it’s possible The Show 21’s addition to Game Pass was mostly influenced by the MLB, the move is significant because of PlayStation’s previous comments about subscription models for new games.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in September last year, SIE president Jim Ryan claimed a subscription-type model would be unsustainable for PlayStation Studios, because it often sees its game budgets grow to “well over $100 million”.
“We have had this conversation before — we are not going to go down the road of putting new releases titles into a subscription model,” he said.
“These games cost many millions of dollars, well over $100 million, to develop. We just don’t see that as sustainable.”
He added: “We want to make the games bigger and better, and hopefully at some stage more persistent. So putting those into a subscription model on day one, for us, just doesn’t make any sense.
“For others in a different situation, it might well make sense, but for us it doesn’t. We want to expand and grow our existing ecosystem, and putting new games into a subscription model just doesn’t sit with that.”