Since its inception in 2006, MLB: The Show has always been exclusive to Sony. However, in 2019, MLB announced that the game would become multi-platform as part of a new licensing deal with Sony.
Speaking with Axios (via VGC), Sarah Bond, head of game creator experience and ecosystem at Xbox, stated that it took years of trying to get the game on Xbox before an agreement could be reached.
However, the road to getting the game on Microsoft’s platform wasn’t necessarily without risk. In order to properly develop and optimize the game for the then-unreleased Xbox consoles, Microsoft had to provide PlayStation developers with pre-release versions of the Series X/S.
In other words, Microsoft gave its secrets to its biggest competitor.
Xbox agreed in order to provide consumer with the best possible experience on Xbox. “It was a real, real sign of industry trust,” Bond said.
Shortly before MLB The Show 21 launched, Xbox announced that the game would be available on Xbox Game Pass at launch. Meanwhile, PlayStation owners would have to pay $60 or $70 for the PS4 and PS5 version respectively.
Xbox’s trust in Sony, and Sony’s professionalism while handling its competitor’s hardware, is admirable. However, we shouldn’t expect this kind of cooperation regularly in the future. As the licence holder, MLB effectively forced Sony to work with Xbox. Nonetheless, bringing MLB The Show 21 to another console certainly had a positive effect on the game’s reach. According to NPD’s charts, it was the fifth best-selling game on Xbox during May and the third best-selling game of the year so far.