Final week, Sony San Diego Studio introduced that MLB The Present 20 would come with full minor league rosters — that’s, real-life gamers, beneath their actual names — for the primary time within the sport’s historical past. I assumed that, to make this occur, one thing should have modified throughout the licensing agreements that normally govern such issues.

Seems, Sony Interactive Leisure has had the rights to do that all alongside.

Earlier this week, Baseball America reported that the 1,500 or so minor leaguers who make up the Double-A and Triple-A rosters for MLB The Present 20 received’t be paid for the usage of their identify, picture, and likeness, an idea a lot of sports activities video avid gamers are conversant in for the reason that cancellation of the NCAA Soccer collection seven years in the past.

However these minor leaguers don’t must be paid, and it’s all truthful and legit; the uniform participant contract each minor-league ballplayer indicators expressly say their “identify, voice, signature, biographical info and likeness … could also be used, reproduced, bought, licensed or in any other case disseminated or revealed by [their] Membership or its licensees … (together with however not restricted to … electronics, audio, in video or in reference to any media).”

Sony Interactive Leisure has paid for Minor League Baseball (MiLB) licensing since MLB 06 The Present, so this language pertains to them and their online game. I reached out to an MiLB spokesman, who informed me that this a part of their uniform participant contract has not modified not too long ago.

“MiLB’s licensing settlement with Sony has at all times supplied them the correct to make use of participant names and likenesses,” he stated. “You’d have to talk with Sony as to why they only began utilizing them this yr.”

So, I did. Per a Sony Interactive Leisure rep:

The addition of full Minor League rosters is one thing we’ve been seeking to incorporate for a while. The crew determined this was the yr to make it occur and it’s been a real collaboration throughout a number of departments and our neighborhood. We’re actually enthusiastic about this because it provides one other layer of depth and authenticity to the sport.

That’s good, however it doesn’t actually reply the query. The idea has lengthy been that minor league gamers have been off-limits till their first day of Main League service, which made them members of the Main League Baseball Gamers Affiliation and subsequently lined by the group license Sony additionally pays for, which permits them to place actual large leaguers within the sport.

That assumption wasn’t simply mine alone. In years previous, big-time prospects like Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper or Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. all needed to attain the bigs earlier than they confirmed up on this sport, or in 2K Sports activities’ defunct Main League Baseball 2K collection. Right here’s a clip from 2010 at Kotaku through which I talked to an SIE rep about their plans so as to add in Aroldis Chapman following his main league debut, for instance.

Is it attainable that Sony or its studio didn’t know that they had the rights to those gamers till now? I can’t say for positive. (And I did ask that query of Sony, instantly, getting solely that assertion above in reply.) A cottage business of civilian roster editors has crammed in over the previous decade or so, creating and sharing full minor league rosters utilizing only a DualShock controller. They’ve normally been in a position to do the job inside two weeks of the sport’s launch.

I don’t deny that tripling the roster measurement, ranking it, and giving gamers faces and animations, is a giant job for builders, (and for announcer Matt Vasgersian, assuming he recorded any new names becoming a member of the sport). However the truth followers have been in a position to pull it off in a few weeks yearly suggests to me this wasn’t a prohibitively massive job. Actually, Scott “RidinRosters” Spindler, the chief of the roster-editing effort over the previous a number of years, was introduced in to collaborate on the official model for MLB The Present 20, with a few of his collaborators pitching in, too.

Ultimately, that is all scorching range discuss that doesn’t actually quantity to a lot. As I stated final week, you’re speaking about 1,500 gamers, most of whom will make solely the slightest of cameos in your created participant’s journey.

However it’s a enormous step towards delivering better immersion within the big-league fantasy MLB The Present delivers. When big-time phenoms have been added mid-season in previous years, many gamers would restart their profession modes so they might play with or towards them. Immersion and realism have at all times been top-of-the-list targets for The Present, or every other sports activities online game. So it pretty raises the query of why it took till now to see these official rosters.

Roster File is Polygon’s information and opinion column on the intersection of sports activities and video video games.