A Monday night announcement about Sony’s long-running baseball sim series MLB The Show included a clause we have yet to see attached to a PlayStation series announcement: plans to launch on other consoles.
Sony and Major League Baseball issued a joint statement on Monday night confirming that their shared license for the series MLB The Show will persist for an indeterminate amount of time. This also included a pledge that the series will appear on “additional console platforms beyond PlayStation platforms as early as 2021.”
The gazillion-dollar question, of course, is which other console platforms we might expect the series to launch on. Neither Sony nor MLB had any answers to that question as of press time. Sony also didn’t hint to doing the same thing for any other current PlayStation-exclusive series.
Since the series began life in 1998 on PlayStation 1, simply titled MLB ’98, Sony’s baseball games have launched exclusively on PlayStation platforms—and, in fact, they’ve launched on every PlayStation-branded device. While other multi-platform baseball sim series have fallen by the wayside in the years since, most recently 2K Sports’ MLB 2K13, Sony’s PlayStation-exclusive take on the American pastime has persisted as an annual release.
Unlike Sony, rival console publisher Microsoft has dipped its toe pretty loudly into multi-console publishing in the past few years. The trend began with Minecraft, but Microsoft technically inherited that series’ multiplatform status upon acquiring its creator Mojang in 2014. Microsoft’s multi-console strategy truly blossomed in 2019 with the launch of former Xbox exclusives Cuphead and Ori and the Blind Forest on Nintendo Switch.
Could Sony be catching Switch fever, as well? (Nintendo is already hinting to the possibility.) Might Sony go so far as to launch MLB The Show on Xbox, thus creating a tangled love triangle of who publishes on whose consoles? Or will this become a bizarre move on Sony’s part to support Google Stadia, even though Sony has its own complicated sometimes-streaming subscription service? And either way, how far might Sony and the MLB milk this cloud of mystery, assuming that “as early as 2021” could mean one, two, or even 4,000 years later?
Update: This article’s headline has been updated to reflect the fact that “Sony” at large has published games on non-PlayStation consoles in recent years, mostly in the form of Sony Music Entertainment’s UNTIES entertainment publishing group. But those games are rarely marked with “Sony” or “PlayStation” branding, let alone temporary exclusivity on PlayStation platforms. Today’s news marks the first time a series from Sony Interactive Entertainment with loud ties to the PlayStation brand has been announced for other competing consoles.