Sony’s MLB The Show, which made its cross-platform last year, will launch on Nintendo Switch with MLB The Show 22 on April 5 and, appropriately enough, position-switching all-star Shohei Ohtani is on the cover.
The launch date and cover announcement should also bring relieved sighs from fans, as it means MLB’s ongoing lockout will not shut down video game baseball, at least.
Major League Baseball locked players out on Dec. 2 at the end of management’s five-year contract with the MLB Players Association, without a new agreement in place. Although spring training has yet to begin, the work stoppage’s effect can be seen at MLB.com, where no articles reference active MLBPA players and where current programming has been suspended and replaced with documentaries and reruns of old games.
MLB The Show 22 is fully licensed by both the league and the players’ association, and the cross-platform play and progression introduced last year will extend to Nintendo Switch, Sony announced.
MLB The Show 21 published for Xbox One and Xbox Series X, under a landmark deal brokered by Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Xbox platforms had gone eight years with no simulation-quality MLB-licensed video game following the cancellation of 2K Sports’ MLB 2K series in 2013. Sony and MLB announced the cross-platform partnership in December 2019, with Nintendo included from the start.
For the cover star, it would be hard to find one timelier than Ohtani, the Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim by way of Japan. Ohtani was the unanimous winner of the American League’s MVP award in 2021, with an unheard-of, multidimensional season that included 46 home runs, 100 RBI, and 26 stolen bases, in addition to a 3.18 earned run average and 156 strikeouts in 23 starts as a pitcher. He was the first player to make a pitching start while leading the league in home runs since Babe Ruth did it 100 years before.
MLB The Show 21, partly in response to Ohtani and the excitement around his performances, remade its popular Road to the Show single-player career mode to accommodate players starring as both sluggers and pitchers. The game, which also launched on Xbox Game Pass, was North America’s ninth-best selling title of 2021, the first time a baseball video game has cracked the top 10 in this region.
MLB The Show 22 is $69.99 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and $59.99 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Although cross-platform play and progression is supported on all consoles, some features — such as the Stadium Creator introduced last year — are not supported on the older platforms. A collector’s edition, to be revealed on Wednesday and so far without a price, will give buyers both current and previous generation versions of the game for the same console family.