One of the biggest factors that push a gaming console’s sales are the exclusive titles or games that come with the platform. Microsoft’s Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation have been going at it for years now, with each camp having some really cool exclusive titles.
For PlayStation, one of the most critical sets of games have been the Spider-Man titles, namely, Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Miles Morales, in fact, was crucial in the successful launch of the PlayStation 5 when it was released.
However, things would have been completely different, had Xbox not messed up on a deal with Marvel. In a recent interview, Vice President and Head of Marvel Games, Jay Ong revealed that the Spider-Man series would have been an Xbox and PC exclusive, had Microsoft realised the potential the titles had.
Apparently, Activision and Marvel had prematurely ended their Spider-Man game deal because neither party was satisfied with Activision’s licensed games. Marvel had previously signed on with Activision to develop the Spider-Man games, along with a bunch of other titles around different members of the Avengers.
According to Ong, Spider-Man needed “needed new talent, a bigger budget, and fresh eyes” to go beyond what Activision had done with the hero. He also said that he needed a publisher with a “deep pool of talent, commitment to quality, and inexhaustibly deep pockets” to realize the potential of Spider-Man and other Marvel characters. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo were three possible candidates that fit the bill and had an “eye for long-term investments, one with a vested interest that would benefit from building a franchise.”
Nintendo was out of the running soon enough, given their preference to work on titles that on their own intellectual properties and characters. Similarly, when approached, Microsoft revealed that it wanted to focus on its own properties, in a way that it deemed fit.
Because of this rejection, Ong went to PlayStation’s vice president of third party relations and developer technology Adam Boyes, and to the director of portfolio strategy, John Drake in 2014, saying that they could beat the Batman Arkham series, which up until then was the most profitable superhero video game.
Sony jumped at the opportunity, given how successful the Spider-Man films had been for Sony Studio. The project was given to Insomniac Games. Insomniac took 3 years to fully develop the game. When it was released in September, Marvel’s Spider-Man was a massive hit, selling over 20 million copies in under 3 months, and continued to sell like hotcakes. Similarly, Spider-Man: Miles Morales became Sony’s third best-selling game, since 1995, the year Sony started keeping records on the number of copies sold.