Why 'MLB The Show 21' Could Mean More Cross-Console Games 2021


Key Takeaways

MLB The Show 21 will make the jump to Xbox for the first time this year.The game will be the first PlayStation exclusive to release on a competitor's console.Experts and gamers alike hope that this could lead to future exclusives being released on multiple platforms, too. AaronP/Bauer-Griffin / Getty Images

The Xbox release of MLB The Show 21—previously exclusive to PlayStation consoles—could herald a new age of multi-platform first-party games.

Since its debut in 2006, MLB The Show has been available exclusively on PlayStation consoles. But a recent announcement from Sony that MLB The Show 21 would arrive on Xbox at the same time as its PlayStation release has left gamers wondering if the "console wars" of past generations are finally going away.

"I've enjoyed the plethora of PS-exclusives Sony has released over the years such as God of War, Ghost of Tsushima, and Marvel's Spiderman to name a few," Yasir Nawaz, a digital content producer at PureVPN and an avid PlayStation fan, told Ach5 in an email.

"At the same time, there have been times that I've wanted to play the Halo series, and drive through the pristine surroundings offered by the Forza Motorsport series."

The Truth About MLB The Show

PlayStation exclusive titles, like MLB The Show 21, appearing on Xbox or even PC is almost revolutionary. Console exclusives have been a foundational part of gaming for as long as the PlayStation and Xbox have been around.

Phil Barker / Future Publishing

This changed in 2016, when Xbox introduced Xbox Play Anywhere, which brought all first-party Xbox games to the Windows 10 store, as well. With MLB The Show 21 releasing on Xbox, gamers are excited about the prospect of future PlayStation games appearing on Xbox, too.

"The latest Sony-Microsoft partnership means I and other gamers that have had similar wishes may soon get what we want," Nawaz told us via email.

Unfortunately, what might seem like a revolutionary change in gaming could just end up being fine print in a new license agreement between Sony and Major League Baseball (MLB).

In December 2019, a press release detailing some big changes to the license for MLB The Show was shared. In the post, MLB revealed that the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) and Sony Interactive Entertainment had reached a new agreement to bring the series to additional platforms as early as 2021. 

Because MLB The Show is a licensed game developed by Sony's San Diego Studio, the final decision for where it releases falls on MLB.

Ultimately, this has led some users on Twitter to feel like the latest move to bring The Show 21 to Xbox was simply Sony trying to keep its license for the series. This is a sentiment that journalists also shared. However, Sony has offered no official statement on the matter.

Coming Together

Whether or not the decision was up to Sony doesn't change that multi-platform releases of future first-party games is possible. Sony already brought one of its console exclusives, Horizon Zero Dawn, to the PC last year. 

A trailer for Demons' Souls also mentioned a PC release and a note about coming to additional platforms. The trailer quickly was changed and Sony later denied any planned releases of the title on any other platform other than PS5.

MLB The Show might not be what some consider a true first-party game, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for this moment to grow into something more.

"The latest Sony-Microsoft partnership means I, and other gamers that have had similar wishes may soon get what we want."

"The most obvious benefit will be the greater number of players playing these games," Nawaz said via email, referencing the possibility of PlayStation exclusives coming to Xbox in the future.

Nawaz also noted that more copies being available on multiple platforms could also lead to more sales, which in turn allows developers to improve and create even more experiences for players to enjoy.

Sony has offered no official statements on whether it intends to bring other first-party titles to Xbox, or even the PC, so we'll have to wait and see how big of an impact The Show 21's Xbox release has on the future of console exclusives.