MLB The Show 18 announced that it will remove Online Franchise Mode this year. The studio explained that this was due to the changes made for the game's network code, which was revamped to avoid online issues that have plagued the series for several games now. But fans still aren't happy with the latest developments.
In a post made on the game's official website, representatives for MLB The Show announced that in order to prioritize "the stability and speed of our online infrastructure for MLB The Show 18" Online Franchise mode needed to be cut. "This was not an easy decision to make and we understand some of you will be disappointed with this change, but we believe focusing on continuing to improve our online performance was the right priotiy for The Show 18."
The wording that it was this year's specific online overhaul that led to Online Franchise Mode's cut led some fans to believe that the door is open for the mode to return in next year's iteration of the game, MLB The Show 19. However, a lot of fans have reacted negatively to the news, even those who don't actually play Online Franchise.
On reddit, anger has taken ahold of commenters, but it largely feels like indignation from non-Online Franchise Mode players reacting in sympathy. "Wow. I never played Online Franchise but I know people who pretty much would only play this mode," wrote one commenter. "Somewhat scummy of [San Diego Studios] with less [than] a month till release and some players have already pre-ordered the game for this mode and they just drop this bombshell."
Opinion is divided as to why Online Franchise was dropped from The Show 18, aside from San Diego Studio's explanation in regards to the online networking. Some argue that Diamond Dynasty, an Ultimate Teams-style fantasy league that also generates revenue through online purchases, was given more priority over Online Franchises as part of a larger trend in sports games towards that kind of online model.
Others cite the low player count for Online Franchises as another reason why San Diego Studios. In fact, soon after the announcement that Online Franchises would not be appearing in The Show 18, several impromptu Twitter polls were conducted to ask players if anyone would even miss the mode. While not the least bit conclusive, it does seem to indicate that Online Franchise was a mode for a minority of players.
Did you buy MLB The Show 18 to play Online Franchise as your main mode?— Healy (@TheHealy6) March 3, 2018
Coupled with the fact that comments on Reddit seem more enraged by the way the announcement was handled, or that like other sports games The Show is prioritizing popular and financially successful online collection modes like Diamond Dynasty, and it's hard to gauge exactly how the news will really impact fans. Though the knee-jerk reaction appears to be calling for pre-orders to be cancelled.
I want to point out that 1.09 million copies of MLB The Show 17 were sold. Only 493,000 games of online franchise were played. That's less than half a game per person. Considering some people played hundreds of online franchise games, 493,000 is nothing. That doesn't warrant... https://t.co/yXaDzXSyZ7— fross (@frossman10_2) March 3, 2018
It should be noted that in conjunction with previous iterations of The Show's online performance, Online Franchise Mode had serious issues. Threads from 2017 complained about how hard it was to even get a franchise up and running without dealing with all kinds of performance issues.
So it's not difficult to believe that with such a heavy emphasis on getting online working right with The Show 18 that Online Franchise could get dropped. The question the remains is whether or not Online Franchise will return.