Would you believe it? Xbox and PC players are miffed that Spider-Man will be an exclusive character for PlayStation versions of Square Enix’s Marvel Avengers. It’s got up some people’s nose enough that they’re calling for a boycott of the game (something that always works out exactly as planned).
Here is the post from KonLiber on Reddit.
First of all I want to clear up that this isn’t a cry of fanboyism. This is about consumers standing up for themselves. With the official confirmation that Spiderman will be available in the new Avengers game but only for PS4 owners, I can’t help but feel as if I am being scammed. This isn’t a PlayStation exclusive but a multiplatform game sold to us at the same full price BUT with less content. We are paying the same price for LESS. We are consumers and we have the ability to be heard with the power of our wallets. Have some self respect and refuse to be treated as a second class customer. Don’t buy this game.
All valid points. If you are paying the same price as someone else you should get the same content, but who is responsible for Spider-Man being exclusive?
Sony have published the most recent Spider-Man game and the forthcoming Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Spider-Man came out in September 2018, but almost a year later Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order was released on Switch and Spider-Man was a playable character. From that we know Sony do not own exclusive rights to Spider-Man appearing in video-games, so it’s not Sony stopping the character from appearing on Xbox… or is it?
There seems to be no logical reason for Square Enix to keep the character locked to one console, they would try and make every version the same else there would be a backlash, which leaves us with what I shall call ‘business shenanigans’.
We asked Crystal Dynamics Creative Director Shaun Escayg for comment about the backlash:
The Spider-Man [backlash] is very delicate. It’s above us in terms of the relationships – it’s a Marvel and Sony relationship and we really don’t have much say in that.
We are excited about putting out our version of Spider-Man and having that Spider-Man live in our world. That’s crucial for us, that this Spider-Man belongs to the Marvel’s Avengers world and the world dominated by AIM.
Other than that, I can say that Spider-Man will have his own story, his own story arc, villains that accompany it and live in this world. For the time that’s probably all I can say on it.
That quite clearly pins the blame on Sony and Marvel, and not Square Enix. Although Sony do not own the rights to Spider-Man in video games they do own the movie rights and have a working relationship with the comic book giant for Insomniac’s blockbusting Spider-Man game. It’s entirely plausible that, given the ties between Sony and Marvel on multiple levels, they agreed to make Spider-Man an exclusive character, in addition to other PlayStation timed exclusive content.
Exclusive content on cross platform games is nothing new, and it absolutely goes both ways. Call of Duty maps were timed exclusives for Xbox 360, before Sony took over that partnership for PlayStation 4, but then The Division had Xbox timed exclusive DLC.
Timed exclusives are going to play a big part in the next generation as well. Who could forget the scandal when Microsoft secured Rise of the Tomb Raider as an Xbox One timed exclusive, but these days the company has become more open about which games will be “console launch exclusives” going into the next generation. STALKER 2, The Gunk, The Medium, even the heavily marketed and Microsoft published CrossfireX will be timed exclusives. Two can play at this game, and Sony have been playing hard for years now. Bugsnax, Godfall, Kena: Bridge of Spirits, Oddworld: Soulstorm, Stray, Project Athia and more are all timed exclusives from the PlayStation 5 reveal event, and that’s alongside the special in-game bonuses that they’re snapping up.
For Marvel’s Avengers, PlayStation players will have 30-day exclusive access to a Legendary Outfit, Legendary Emote, Epic Takedown, and nameplate for each Super Hero as they are released. However, Spider-Man there’s no indication that Spider-Man is a timed exclusive, and other heroes like Hawkeye will be arriving on all platforms at the same time. We’ve asked Square Enix for clarification.
It’s unlikely that this ‘fan’ backlash will hurt sales of the game, but what it has done is made it easy for those who want to play Marvels Avenger’s but don’t currently own a console to decide which platform to buy. Can you guess which version is higher up on the pre-order charts?