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The Real Reason Sony Had To Have An Xbox

Sony didn't particularly want the blame for making "MLB the Show 21" a cross-platform game, but at the MLB's will, it decided to cooperate with Xbox in order to make it happen. "MLB the Show 21" even debuted as part of Xbox's Game Pass lineup, making some believe that the two companies had reached an amicable agreement. If a classically PlayStation exclusive franchise could make it to Xbox customers, maybe the console wars were over after all. During E3, Sarah Bond, head of game creator experience and ecosystem at Xbox, revealed that the companies did have to trust each other to make the game a reality.

Bond, speaking to Axios' gaming newsletter (via VGC), said that Xbox had wanted an MLB game on its console for years before it actually happened. "'The Show' always came up," she explained. "We always said, 'We love this game. It would be a huge opportunity to bring it to Xbox."

However, there was one wrinkle in Xbox's dream. In order to develop "MLB the Show 21" for Xbox, the game's dev team had to have access to Xbox's as-of-then unreleased next-gen systems, the Xbox Series X|S. That might have been less of a problem if the publisher wasn't, say, Sony Interactive Entertainment, a.k.a. Xbox's biggest competitor. 

Bond told Axios that Xbox agreed to share its new consoles with Sony in the name of properly developing "MLB the Show 21." Bond explained, "It was a real, real sign of industry trust."

Trust rewarded

Fans heard early rumblings in late 2019 that "MLB the Show 21" would be a cross platform title, but until now, they were not privy to the behind the scenes development process of the game, or the cooperation that had to happen between Xbox and Sony. "MLB the Show 21" was actually the first time Sony made a game for Xbox, making history for long-lived rivals.

For Xbox and Sony, it seems the "industry trust" and cooperation has paid off. While some fans felt confused about the game's different prices on varying platforms, "MLB the Show 21" has received decent reviews, showing that the two gaming giants can work together successfully. And somehow, the game didn't even have a single horrifying glitch like its predecessor, despite it being Sony's very first foray into Xbox development.

Xbox's trust in Sony with its new technology is no small feat, and Sony repaid that trust by keeping Xbox's company secrets well under wraps. It's possible that this partnership could pave the way for future cross-platform games, but only time will tell if Sony will agree to that without the MLB once again forcing its hand.