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'Marvel's Spider-Man' Exists Because Xbox Turned Marvel Down

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'Marvel's Spider-Man' Exists Because Xbox Turned Marvel Down

We’ve all made some pretty questionable choices in our time. For example, I once asked for the hottest sauce possible on an already very spicy burrito, and I’m pretty sure my stomach hasn’t been quite the same since. 

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However, I’m sure I don’t regret that nearly as much as Microsoft undoubtably lament their decision to turn down having Spider-Man games release on their consoles. Exclusively, at that. Looking at the success of Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales, it’s hard to believe that saying no would ever have been an option, but as reported by VGC, yes, it really happened.

Both Marvel's Spider-Man and Miles Morales will be available for PlayStation Plus' Extra and Premium-tier subscribers to play for free when the overhauled service launches next month - check out the gameplay demo for Miles Morales below.

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This information came to light thanks to Steven L. Kent’s book, The Ultimate History of Video Games Vol 2, in which the executive vice president and head of Marvel Games, Jay Ong, explained how Marvel’s Spider-Man came to be. Apparently, Marvel Games didn’t think that the quality of Activision’s Spider-Man games was up to scratch, and so the two companies agreed to end their licensing deal sooner than originally planned, so that a better partnership could be found.

Activision had asked Ong: “What are you going to do with this IP after you get it back?”. Ong replied that he would “find a better home for it”, to which they said: “Good luck finding your unicorn.”

On the back of that, Marvel Games apparently approached both Xbox and PlayStation, asking: “We don’t have any big console deals with anyone right now, what would you like to do?”. However, Microsoft chose to decline the offer, as their strategy at the time was to focus on their own IP. 

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Obviously though, Sony thought differently: “I sat down with these two execs from PlayStation third-party, Adam Boyes and John Drake, in August 2014, in a conference room in Burbank,” Ong explained. “I said, ‘We have a dream that this is possible, that we could beat Arkham and have one game at least and maybe multiple games that could drive adoption of your platform’.”

The result of that was Sony offering to make a PlayStation-exclusive AAA game - AKA the excellent Marvel’s Spider-Man, that now reportedly over 20 million people have played. So, that worked out for them. Better luck next time, Xbox. 

Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment, Billy Freeman via Unsplash

Topics: Marvels Spider Man, Spider Man, Marvel, PlayStation, Xbox, Sony, Microsoft

Catherine Lewis
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