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MLB The Show 17 doles out big comps for server problems

A nice gesture, but users went through this last year, too

MLB The Show 17 - Noah Syndergaard SIE San Diego Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Players of MLB The Show 17 got a whopper of a make-good this week as an apology for server troubles following the game's launch in late March.

Anyone who ever played MLB The Show 17 between March 28 and May 11 found themselves gifted with 10 standard packs of cards in Diamond Dynasty, the game's collection/fantasy sports mode, and 11,000 "stubs." Stubs are virtual currency that can buy additional items in Diamond Dynasty, or improve players in the Road to the Show mode or teams in Franchise mode.

"We’ve been working without pause to address a number of server and gameplay issues to restore the online experience we had hoped to achieve at launch," San Diego Studio, makers of the game, said in a blog post. "Some of these changes have been made visible to our community in the form of patches and in-game messages, while other upgrades haven’t been publicized, in the form of back end server updates."

MLB The Show 16 had server problems weeks after its launch last year, too. The virtual goodies given out this time are more than twice what users were comped last year. The current server problems don’t just affect the consistency and stability of online play. They also have prevented results from being reported, effectively wasting users' time. Diamond Dynasty is a fully online mode, too; servers have to be working just to check in and make a uniform change.

It's true that giving away virtual content costs Sony nothing. Still, 11,000 stubs is a hell of a comp. That can buy a tremendous boost, through "training points" for a created player in Road to the Show.

Flooding the marketplace with that much currency carries somewhat of a risk, even if the standard packs provide more organizational depth and role-player positions than they do big stars. Sony San Diego, at minimum, is acknowledging a critical need to keep people playing their game, and how server problems can crater their desire to do so and drive them to move on to something else.

Baseball, which is fundamentally a game of timing, has had probably the biggest problems with consistent online play since that became a standard mode in sports video games two console generations ago. The bonuses doled out here seem to be more of a gift to those who have given up on online features than to those who expect them.