You could probably hear the collective space moan as Sony announced yesterday that Spider-Man will be a PlayStation exclusive character in the upcoming Crystal Dynamics Avengers game, as part of a marketing deal with Square Enix.
The platform’s exclusive content concept looks incredibly dated in late 2020, like a game proudly announcing its huge selection of loot boxes. And while yes, some people have noticed that Sony, with its partial ownership of the rights to Spider-Man and its exclusive game series, would of course have Spider-Man for itself, we have seen the hero appear in other cross-platform games from Marvel Vs. Capcom at Ultimate Alliance. Nothing about locking up Marvel’s most popular hero on a single console was “mandatory” for Avengers.
Here’s the thing, we’ve seen this play out in a loot-based live game before. It was bad then, and it’s still bad now, and there’s a reason Bungie shied away from the concept as soon as they could with Destiny, and it’s really stupid to see Avengers fall into the same trap in the same genre.
The problem with exclusives is that they not only hurt the obvious suspects, platforms that don’t get the X or Y exclusivity, which in this case are Xbox and PC gamers, but they even hurt the platform. -form who is supposed to benefit from it.
In the case of Destiny, this played out in several ways. A PlayStation-exclusive strike could never be chosen as the Nightfall Ultra-Hard Weekly Rotator. A PlayStation exclusive Crucible card could never be chosen as a dedicated trial card. Any weapons exclusive to PlayStation could never be sold by Xur, the Exotic Vendor. All of these things affected PlayStation gamers as well and made the game a little worse for everyone.
With Avengers, it’s easy to see how it could play out the same way. While the main Avengers storyline appears to revolve around six launch heroes, Black Widow, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and Ms. Marvel, the point of the game is that it will be an ongoing story that takes place in time. . It’s easy to see how a character like Spider-Man, an important Avenger both in the MCU and in the comics, could have been incorporated into a major storyline at some point in the future as the game develops. . But the fact that it’s exclusive to PlayStation essentially ensures that it can not being a major player in the story, relegated to some sort of introductory side mission, and that’s it, or as a companion to other missions without a major active role.
In short, his PlayStation exclusivity limits what he can do there, and he’s likely to be less around than he would be if he was a character that Xbox and PC were getting as well.
This could have happened in several ways. I think the best option for the Sony marketing team would have been to “donate” the Insomniac version of Spider-Man and Miles Morales to promote their own exclusive series across all platforms. Alternatively, a much more subtle exclusivity could have been designed like Insomniac-style cosmetics or something like that. But no the whole character.
I scold Square Enix and Sony so much for this because it’s what it took to kill mostly things like loot boxes that were actively anti-consumer. I thought we were done with the worst platform exclusive content here in 2020, but I guess not, so this needs to be said bluntly and emphatically.
Follow me on Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. Pick up my sci-fi novels Herokiller and Herokiller 2, and read my first series, The Earthborn trilogy, which is also on audio book.