MLB The Show ignoring Franchise Mode again raises more concern about its future

Posted February 15th, 2022 at 2:45 pm

Today the prerelease stream schedule for MLB The Show 22 was announced. Rather than what was present being the story it’s what was absent. There is no mention of Franchise Mode for any of the seven streams to come.

In recent years Franchise has at least been included, even when barely addressed in the actual stream. Now, despite pressure from fans on social media, it’s been made more clear than ever that Franchise not only the lowest of priorities but may not be around much longer.

There’s a decade’s worth of evidence that Sony San Diego doesn’t care for Franchise Mode. It’s never been the worst of its kind in the genre but it has gone essentially unchanged and yearly updates to match the real world are often left out. Meanwhile NBA 2K continues work expanding multiple Franchise Modes and Madden has at least made commitments to major Franchise improvements. MLB The Show now won’t even acknowledge the mode exists or any of the fans who are begging just to be heard.

The exclusion of Franchise from the stream schedule was certainly not an oversight. It was going to be scrutinized by fans and immediately recognized for its absence. This was a deliberate action that was taken with a plan in mind.

The introduction of March to October three years ago came directly after the removal of both Online Franchise and Season Mode. In the case of the former the developer only announced its removal a few weeks before the release of the game. Season Mode being stripped was shamefully hidden until it was discovered after release by consumers.

There is little reason to believe that Franchise Mode wouldn’t be treated the same way. A year or two from now taken out without being discussed until forced to do so. The very same justification Sony had for the removal of Season and Online Franchise could apply here, that usage rates are not high enough to invest development resources, as they continue to build out March to October and monetize it by creating a connection with Diamond Dynasty.

When the day comes that Franchise is removed, who will be left to object? The most passionate fans will have been worn down and are beginning to expect it. The fight feels over at this point. That’s exactly the campaign that seems to be taking place from Sony – to demoralize Franchise fans so that they just don’t care anymore.

For all the people who claim they’d be done with the series if Franchise comes to an end, following through on that would barely make a dent in the success of the series. Publishers are now not concerned with how many people pay $70 for their game (or download free from Game Pass). Their focus is on those who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars after getting the game. People who are investing their time in Franchise are seen as a liability.

Not only can MLB The Show survive without Franchise but it very well may continue to thrive despite the pleas of the hardcore fans that helped get the series to where it is today. It may actually make financial sense to go that direction once the storm is weathered, and right now it appears they are conditioning fans for that very future.