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MLB The Show 21 release date, Xbox confirmation, trailer, special editions and everything you need to know

MLB The Show 21
(Image credit: Sony)

MLB The Show 21 is out on Xbox Series X. No, this isn't a wind-up: Sony's supreme baseball sim genuinely is available on a Microsoft machine, for the first time in gaming history. The shock collaboration between two longstanding rivals means the biggest sports shake-up since Mario and Sonic’s Olympian adventures. Fear not, PS5 owners – MLB The Show 21 is yours to own, too. Below we take a look at the king of the swingers’ cover star, reveal trailer, and much more, as part of your MLB The Show 21 guide.

MLB The Show 21 release date: April 20 was the big day

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

The MLB The Show 21 release date was April 20, 2021. Whereas this series has so often been single-format, the latest edition landed on four: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One.

It’s a staggering development. Sony and Major League Baseball announced a “multi-platform video game partnership” in December 2019, making MLB The Show 21 the first ever PlayStation Studios title to be released on a Microsoft console.

“This is a very exciting moment for all of us as the storied franchise will be accessible to more gamers than before,” says brand strategist Ramone Russell in a PlayStation Blog post. “We would like to thank everyone at PlayStation, Xbox, Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Players Association and the San Diego Studio for working diligently to bring MLB The Show to more users.”

MLB 21 The Show’s standard edition on current-gen consoles is $59.99/£59.99, while on next-gen machines you have to fork out $69.99 /£69.99. The basic collector’s edition is $84.99, and two more substantial special editions are $99.99 each (UK prices TBC). Details of what you get in each edition are included later in this guide.

MLB The Show 21 trailer: watch the game here

The first MLB The Show 21 gameplay trailer dropped on Monday, March 22, and you can watch it right now as part of the official tweet below. It reveals little in terms of actual gameplay, but confirms that the game looks uncannily realistic on PS5 and XBox Series X.

See more

Previous to that we had an official announcement of Fernando Tatis Jr as the MLB 21 cover star. (More on that below.) You can also watch that immediately, again via Youtube.

MLB The Show 21 cover: Fernando Tatis Jr gets the box

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

Yes, there may have been a slight spoiler in the entry above, but let’s pretend you glossed past that part. San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr is the MLB The Show 21 cover star, and is being billed as ‘the new face of baseball’ by San Diego Studio.

It’s the latest high point of what’s been an astronomical rise for Tatis. Signed by the Chicago White Sox in 2015, he was traded to the Padres in June 2016 and rocketed through the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in March 2019. Across his first two pro seasons he has a batting average of .301, has smashed 39 home runs and 98 RBI, and grabbed both the Silver Slugger Award and a spot in the All-MLB First Team in 2020. The scary part for the 29 clubs outside of San Diego: Tatis Jr has only just turned 22.

All three collector’s editions of the game feature legendary second baseman Jackie Robinson, the first ever African American to play Major League Baseball, on the cover. “To celebrate Jackie, PlayStation and San Diego Studio are happy to announce that PlayStation will donate $1 to the Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) for every MLB The Show 21 Collector’s Edition sold in the US,” says Russell in another PlayStation Blog entry.

MLB The Show 21 wishlist: Stadium Creator is coming

The option to create your own ballpark has been top of fans’ MLB The Show 21 wishlist since the series’ announcement for PS5, and Sony is putting an emphatic green tick in this box at long last. In February it included the following caption on an official Youtube video: “Fire up the new Stadium Creator mode and build the next great ball park.” The description was deleted shortly afterwards, likely because it broke an internal embargo. But on March 4 Sony confirmed that you’ll finally be able to build your own alternative to Fenway Park or Yankee Stadium this year.

The stadium creator is exclusive to PS5 and Xbox Series X. Custom ballparks can be used in both Diamond Dynasty and Franchise mode, and shared with other users across both platforms. Adjustable features include field dimensions, foul territory, and wall height, as wall as various elements of the surrounding environment. Want alien spaceships looming over left field as you play? Then you can have them. No, really

MLB The Show 21 ratings: deGrom and Trout top the pile

MLB The Show 20

(Image credit: Sony)

Pre-release hype for The Show’s first PS5 instalment, and debut Xbox edition, was supermassive like a Luke Voit dinger - so Sony understandably stayed tight-lipped about MLB The Show 21 ratings until the week before release. Ultimately Jacob deGrom (SP, New York Mets) and Mike Trout (OF, Los Angeles) topped the pile with maximum possible scores of 99. To view the top five players at every position, head over to our MLB The Show 21 player ratings guide. 

MLB The Show 21 special edition: what extras do you get?

MLB The Show 21

(Image credit: Sony)

Three special edition releases of MLB 21 The Show are available.

The basic Jackie Robinson Edition contains the following:

  • Main game
  • Next-gen access via download code
  • Limited edition steelbook case
  • Four days’ early access
  • DLC: Diamond variety pack, 2 gold choice packs, double daily login rewards for the life cycle of MLB The Show 21, 10 The Show packs, 10,000 stubs
  • Digital Jackie Robinson bat skin

The Digital Deluxe Edition grants you these goodies:

  • Four days’ early access
  • Current and next-gen game access
  • DLC: 2 Diamond variety pack, 5 gold choice packs, ballplayer equipment pack, double daily login rewards for the life cycle of MLB The Show 21, 10 The Show packs, 25,000 stubs

Finally, the Jackie Robinson Deluxe Edition gets you all the stuff below. It’s the same price as the Digital Deluxe Edition, but you get fewer in-game items, and something physical instead: an official Jackie Robinson New Era cap.

  • New Era MLB The Show 9FIFTY Jackie Robinson Deluxe Edition cap
  • Limited edition steelbook case
  • Four days’ early access
  • Main game
  • Next-gen access via download code
  • DLC: Diamond variety pack, 2 gold choice packs, double daily login rewards for the life cycle of MLB The Show 21, 10 The Show packs, 10,000 stubs
  • Digital Jackie Robinson bat skin
  • Digital New Era cap (for use in Diamond Dynasty)
Ben Wilson

I'm GamesRadar's sports editor, and obsessed with NFL, WWE, MLB, AEW, and occasionally things that don't have a three-letter acronym – such as Chvrches, Bill Bryson, and Streets Of Rage 4. (All the Streets Of Rage games, actually.) Even after three decades I still have a soft spot for Euro Boss on the Amstrad CPC 464+.