A good deal for Sony
Spider-Man – a new version of the hero and not the same version as the Peter Parker we played in Marvel’s Spider-Man in 2018 – will be made exclusive to PlayStation players sometime in 2021. Square Enix has not confirmed this. There is a timed exclusivity window to this or whether it is permanently available only to PS4 and PS5 players. And as of this writing, there’s no indication that Xbox and PC gamers will be getting any platform-exclusive characters to balance things out, so if you want to play as Marvel’s flagship hero (and current hero) America’s Favorite Marvel), you need to purchase Avengers on PlayStation.
Despite some tough screenings at E3 last year, the recent War Table presentations have earned a lot of goodwill for Marvel’s Avengers, and on a more general note the game is, of course, coming off the success of filmmaking. hit at the box office. defining the MCU film series that culminated in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Avengers as a brand is bigger than ever, and therefore having such a beloved hero available only on your systems makes the PlayStation version the clear winner for those with multiple systems.It is, quite simply, a brilliant marketing movement in terms of brand recognition. This only strengthens PlayStation’s connection with Spider-Man. Although not the same Spidey as in the 2018 game, this PS4 exclusive is one of the biggest games of the generation, and the best-selling superhero game of all time in the United States Spider -Man: Miles Morales is positioned as one of THE reasons to buy a PS5 this holiday. And now, if you want to play the Spider-Man featured in Marvel’s great Avengers game and see him team up with other Marvel heroes, PlayStation is the only place to do it.
And this connection to the brand is, on the surface, even more beneficial to Sony society at large. As far as we know publicly, Marvel still owns the ultimate rights to Spider-Man, and that’s why we can see the character appear in the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2 cross-platform or a Nintendo Switch exclusive like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. But Sony has owned the film rights to Spidey for a long time and seems determined to maintain that position, which led to the brief dark period when Spider-Man was going to be pulled from the MCU, only for Sony and Marvel Studios to come. to a renewed deal to keep him involved… for now. But make no mistake, Sony is doing everything in its power to create a Spider-Man universe that almost features the character. From Venom to Morbius (and its bizarre inclusion of the Easter Egg from Marvel’s Spider-Man trailer) to the burgeoning Spider-Verse franchise, there are plenty of other character films adjacent to Spider-Man that Sony obviously hopes to use. what he can to build a live-action Spidey-verse, either to ultimately bring the character back into his fold exclusively, or to at least make the most of both cinematic universes.
Spider-Man is the crown jewel of Sony’s film lineup, although they currently share custody with Marvel, and so having the character on any possible brand-associated medium is good not only for PlayStation but for Sony in general.
But for the players …
At the very least, this announcement likely guarantees a healthy player base for Marvel’s Avengers on PS4 and PS5 by 2021. Regardless of how the game is received at launch, the history of many games as a service is often written in the months and years after. Giving players on PS4 and PS5 a reason to register for the game next year as big as Spider-Man will surely even bring back some gamers who might not stick with the game after launch.
But it’s certainly not fair to Xbox or PC gamers, who have no idea at this point if they will ever be able to play as Spider-Man in Avengers, if they will receive any other exclusive characters. to balance things out, or if they never see the web head swinging in their games. Cross-play between consoles is yet to be announced for Avengers (generational only, so PS4 and PS5 players can play together, but not with Xbox or PC players), and system-exclusive characters make the idea even less likely at a time when cross play and cross progression are more and more part of the game. Of course, it is entirely possible that it will eventually be brought to other systems and the terms of this agreement prevent just that it be announced yet, but for the moment, it remains cruelly unclear.It also raises the unfortunate question of how substantial Spider-Man’s content will be, and how essential it will feel to the game as a whole if only a portion of the audience could play it. Marvel has promised that all future DLC characters, which will be free to players, will come with their own story-related content. If Spider-Man’s story is only part of some players’ experience of the Avengers, won’t it fit well into the rest of the team or into the history of the world? Will it be particularly autonomous and will the interactions of the characters be superficial, since they theoretically cannot radically affect the current narratives? Or is Crystal Dynamics creating a multiverse of Marvel’s Avengers stories, one for Xbox and PC gamers and one for those on PlayStation?
The latter seems too unwieldy to handle, and the former is a valid concern that could dampen the potential excitement for Spidey content in Marvel’s Avengers. Personally, the thrill of playing Marvel’s Avengers comes from the interconnectedness between the characters and the continuing nature of its storytelling, true comic book-style storytelling can be incorporated into an ambitious Marvel game world on a level never before seen in consoles and PC games. . But if such a major character – it’s Spider-Man! – can only be played by certain players, how does that translate into the overall Avengers story ambitions and the Spidey specific stories they are planning?It’s not all clear at this point, but what is clear is that creating a fractured player base is like dividing the kids up in a schoolyard, but only some of them get all the gear. while the others have something half-built. Destiny players were upset with PS4-exclusive weapons and missions, and that makes sense – when a game is meant to be played on multiple platforms, and not on a platform created by or for one. as a platform owner, you would pretty much expect the same experience with a system. next. And a full, playable new character and associated content is a much bigger pill to swallow than, say, some exclusive costumes or even side quests.
Platform exclusives like this always seem mean, even if they make sense from a business standpoint. PlayStation is keen to integrate players into its systems with probably one of the most requested characters for the Avengers lineup and there is already a character association with Sony. But for gamers on other platforms, it feels like a slap in the face, and only fuels the console divide at a time when playing together, no matter where we play, is becoming more important than ever.
Jonathon Dornbush is editor-in-chief of IGN and host of the podcast Beyond! Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.