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Sony-made MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch

Sony's new Xbox game will be on Microsoft's subscription service.

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MLB The Show 21 is coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch. 

Screenshot/Microsoft and PlayStation Studios

Xbox fans looking to play baseball on their consoles will soon have a new way to get back into the game. While we knew the expansion of Sony's popular baseball video game franchise to Xbox was happening this year, on Friday a fresh surprise was revealed: the game will arrive at launch on Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming (formerly xCloud). 

Set for release on April 20, Microsoft confirmed in a blog post that the Game Pass version of the title will be the standard edition, with titles optimized for either the Xbox One or recently released Xbox Series S and Series X. Those with Game Pass Ultimate will also be able to play the game on Android phones and tablets through the Xbox Cloud Gaming beta. 

Xbox Game Pass is Microsoft's video game subscription service that offers access to over 100 games on its consoles and PCs. The base price is $10 per month for just the games access on either console or PC. Those who also want Xbox Live Gold for multiplayer gaming, EA Play for Electronic Arts games and the ability to play on phones and tablets through Cloud Gaming (plus access to both the console and PC versions of the service) can subscribe to Game Pass Ultimate for $15 per month. 

The move is the latest in Microsoft's efforts to build out its Game Pass library, particularly for sports gamers. Last month the company added 2K's NBA 2K21 to its regular Game Pass offering, as well as EA Sports' Madden 21 and NHL 21 to its Ultimate roster through the EA Play deal. 

What makes Friday's announcement surprising, however, is that unlike those titles, The Show 21 is made by Microsoft-rival Sony's PlayStation Studios. With the ability to get it on Game Pass, the new game is more widely accessible on Xbox than it is on Sony's own PlayStation 4 and PS5. The addition of Cloud Gaming support also means that, at least for now, the only way to play The Show 21 on the go appears to be on Xbox as Sony has long ceased making its own portable consoles, such as the PlayStation Portable and PS Vita.

As for what is behind this move, a statement from Sony places the spotlight on MLB. 

"As part of the goal for this year's game, MLB decided to bring the franchise to more players and baseball fans," the company says. "This decision provides a unique opportunity to further establish MLB The Show as the premier brand for baseball video games."