Sports games

Xbox Game Pass turns mediocre sports games into comfort food

Most modern sports game franchises have settled into mediocrity. Companies like EA and 2K have found a lucrative formula for franchises like FIFA, Madden, and NBA 2K, so they rarely have to reimagine what those series look like despite the frustrations of some hardcore fans. Sony San Diego’s MLB The Show series has been slowly falling into a sports gaming slump in recent years.

While MLB The Show 22 features new modes, updates to existing ones, and a new commentary team, the gameplay itself doesn’t seem like a big improvement over MLB The Show 21. Despite that, I’m having a good time with it, thanks to Xbox Game Pass. Mediocre sports games are somewhat insane and enjoyable comfort games for many gamers like me. Playing them through Xbox Game Pass ensures that I don’t feel embarrassed spending a lot of money on a game super similar to a title released 12 months ago.

As long as the series remains on Xbox Game Pass, I doubt I’ll play MLB The Show on PlayStation again. That said, I’ll probably continue to play each new episode every year due to the niche it occupies on Microsoft’s subscription service.

If it ain’t broke

Only a few minor tweaks make a bit of sense because MLB The Show 22 just launched on more platforms than ever. Historically, it was a PlayStation console-exclusive series; Following a deal with MLB in 2019, Sony San Diego baseball titles have come to Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, and now Nintendo Switch. When you’re focused on growing your audience and need to build a game in less than a year, it makes sense not to introduce drastic changes to the core gameplay mechanics and just tweak and add to what already exists.

Certainly, MLB The Show 22′s gameplay is also just in a very good place. Throw, stick, and pitch all have a lot of depth and different control schemes, even though those mechanics are the same as last year.


MLB The Show 21 is what brought me back to this franchise, after all. When I returned to this series after being on hiatus for several years, I found MLB The Show games to be perfect titles for me to play for relaxation. It allows me to practice one of my favorite sports without thinking too much about the game; Plus, I can actively live and play the fantasy of the White Sox winning another World Series in my favorite modes like March to October and Franchise.

Although I have a huge backlog, I often turn to sports games like MLB The Show when I’m bored and don’t know what to play. There’s definitely some value to a game like this, especially on a subscription service.

Game Pass perfection

Like last year’s headline, MLB The Show 22 is on Xbox Game Pass, and he claims that sports games are more appealing to me when included in a subscription service. Typically, MLB The Show 22 costs $70 on current-gen consoles. I wouldn’t feel comfortable paying that much for an annualized sports game with incremental upgrades, but I’m more than willing to have a good time with it. MLB the show 22 if it’s offered as part of something I subscribe to. It’s a testament to Xbox Game Pass’s ability to get me playing games I might not normally try, even those developed by its biggest competitor.

Although I won’t buy any, Xbox Game Pass MLB The Show 22 players can still purchase microtransactions. They also have access to cross-progression if they purchase the game on another platform. Overall, this setup seems like a win-win situation for gamers and Sony, especially for a game that would otherwise be underwhelming. I now fully understand why MLB pushed the Game Pass deal on PlayStation: sports games are a great fit for gaming subscription services. Many gamers like me would love to sit back, relax, and play their favorite sport, but most sports games aren’t worth the full price tag.

MLB The Show 22 isn’t the only game to benefit from Xbox Game Pass; there are plenty of sports games on the service, especially if someone has EA Play through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. Of course, there’s always a fear that game subscriptions will make developers care more about quantity than quality. MLB The Show 22The situation is an example of why there is long-term concern.

For now though, there are still plenty of critically acclaimed games on Xbox Game Pass that I’ve tried on top of that guilty pleasure. But if I’m ever bored or stressed and want to play a game to pass the time, MLB The Show 22 will be the first game I start.

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