Yesterday, the European PlayStation Twitter account revealed the rather exciting news that Spider-Man would be joining the upcoming Marvel’s Avengers game in post-launch content. The PlayStation blog post explained it this way:
When Spider-Man comes to our stable of heroes, we’ll be marking his debut with an in-game event that will introduce him to the wider world of Marvel’s Avengers. The event is comprised of a series of unique challenges for the hero to take on, testing his abilities, and yielding some exciting results. And like the rest of our heroes in Marvel’s Avengers, we will offer multiple cosmetic outfits and gameplay experience options, so you can make your vision of the wall crawler a reality.
While on the surface it may sound like a simple new character addition, if you’ve had a look at the Tweet you’ll notice a few words really stand out… “exclusively on PlayStation“. Sony has owned the rights to the Spider-Man character since 1985 (at least for movies – for video games the exact owner of the rights is a little murkier). But it at least makes some business sense that Sony would want exclusivity for their money-making arachnid. Sony’s strategy is to make its platform feel like the one you have to own and this move fits right in with that. However, the fact the Spider-Man – one of the most popular comic book characters – is exclusive only to the PlayStation kind of makes one feel that different platforms will eventually get very different-feeling games. And that just doesn’t sit right with many people…
Just looking at the responses in the thread for the tweet and you’ll quickly notice a growing sense that many see this move as anti-consumer. Sadly, comments spouting console-war type rhetoric abound and some even wonder whether Xbox will also get their own ‘console exclusive’ in some sort of ‘retaliation’. It’s all rather depressing. And whether that happens or not, this division in the content has already led some to question the game itself (as if it needed any more bad press). As many have stated (including Imran Khan here as an example), this sounds like either the new content and character will be shoe-horned in just for Sony or the versions on the other platforms will be left feeling ‘incomplete’.
Either way, it kind of just feels ‘wrong’.