Spider-Man Will Be A PlayStation Exclusive Character For Marvel’s Avengers, Reminding Us All How Much Console-Exclusive DLC Sucks

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Screenshot: Square Enix / Sony
Screenshot: Square Enix / Sony

In a move already being roundly criticised on social media, Crystal Dynamics’ Jeff Adams revealed today that Spider-Man will be available as a free update for PlayStation players of this September’s Marvel’s Avengers game in “early 2021.” PC and Xbox One players, apparently, won’t get to play as him.

Adams announced the move in a PlayStation blog post, offering no insight as to why PC and Xbox players would miss out and outlining no exclusive content for those games. It doesn’t appear to be a timed exclusive. When Kotaku reached out to Square Enix, the game’s publisher, for comment, about that and the rest of the deal, we were directed to Adams’ blog post — which didn’t answer any of our questions.

Last week, Square Enix announced that Hawkeye will join the game as the first downloadable character some time after launch. Hawkeye will be available to all players of Marvel’s Avengers.

Sony has worked to make Spider-Man more of a PlayStation-first character of late, though not quite exclusively. 2018’s terrific Marvel’s Spider-Man was, of course, a PS4 exclusive. Spider-Man: Miles Morales is a marquee exclusive title for the upcoming PlayStation 5.

But Spider-Man — the Peter Parker and Miles Morales versions — also appeared among the roster of heroes in last summer’s Nintendo Switch exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3. Spider-Man characters were all over the recent multi-platform Lego Marvel games, too.

Console makers have long tried to secure loyalty by paying for exclusive content, though it’s Sony that has pushed more of that lately, seemingly unbothered by the backlash that it screws over fans of rival systems. PlayStation has a deal with Rockstar Games that offers exclusive unlockables for the otherwise multiplatform Red Dead Redemption 2. It also used to regularly get exclusive Destiny 2 missions years before those missions would be available to Xbox players. Destiny 2 studio Bungie ended that exclusivity approach last year.

Sony has great exclusive games on PS4 and a generation-long lead in popularity over Xbox One. Its version of Marvel’s Avengers was already going to be very popular. But apparently all that momentum wasn’t enough.

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Comments

  • So?

    Sony owns the Spiderman license. If they want the character to be exclusive DLC, they can do that.

    If you own an Xbox you might not like it, sure, but at least you still have the game, even if it’s sans Spiderman. It shouldn’t ruin your enjoyment of the game.

    Complaining about exclusives is stupid anyway. What’s the point of having different consoles if you get exactly the same games on both?

    • First, Sony doesn’t have exclusivity on the Spider-Man license. Spidey has appeared in multiple non-PS exclusive games in the last few years (Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, Lego Games, etc.). Second, while I’m not opposed to exclusivity per se, this is a pretty big deal. It’d be like a multi-platform Sonic game making Tails PS exclusive. Spidey is core Marvel and a fan favourite. This is a pretty hard kick in the teeth for XBox fans. If the exclusive had been Wasp, or Ant Man, or Nova, I would have said ‘ok, cool, bummer for XBox, but oh well’. But Spidey is a headliner and he is cut from one versio of the game. Hope PS is paying through the tweth for him, because Square basically lost their XBox fanbase.

      • He only appeared in MUA3 because Sony allowed it, and the Lego games probably fall under a different license.

        It doesn’t matter if he’s “core Marvel”, the fact is Marvel/Disney does not currently own the license to him, Sony does. It’s exactly the same reason why he was kept out of the MCU until they came to an arrangement.

        In this case Sony probably paid some extra money to have a character they own the rights to to appear in the game. No different to, say, Kratos appearing in Mortal Kombat or Banjo Kazooie appearing in Smash.

        Also, he is not “cut from one version of the game”. He is not in the base game on either platform. He’s being ADDED as DLC to PlayStation. He’s not being CUT from Xbox. You may not see it as being different but it is…one is giving, one is taking away.

        Once again, is your experience with the game on the Xbox going to be ruined just because PlayStation gets an extra character that you don’t? It shouldn’t.

        • You are incorrect. Sony holds the movie rights to Spider-Man, not the game rights. Insomniac’s Spider-Man is not part of any exclusivity contract. Sony definitely paid extra money to get this, but they do not own the property.

          I’m not sure it matters that he’s added DLC – the character carries weight. People would pay hand over fist for a cosmetic to look like Spider-Man in Fortnite with no bearing on gameplay whatsoever. He’s kind of a big deal.

          I say this as someone who is neither a PS or an XBox fanboy – would my experience be ruined by not getting a core character like Spider-Man in the platform of my choice? 100% yes. I would opt out of buying the game on XBox before playing it and knowing I’m missing out on Spidey, and a quick search of reddit and twitter shows that I’m not in the minority. It’s cool if it doesn’t ruin the experience for you, but dude, read the room. A lot of people are unhappy about this, I am inclined to agree with them.

          • If Spiderman was never announced as DLC, would that have ruined your experience too? Of course not. The base game is what it is, and your enjoyment of that game shouldn’t be dictated by what other platforms may or may not be getting as post-release DLC.

            If the inclusion of the character is that important to you, then do what you say and purchase the version that will get that character.

            Once again, there’s no point to having different consoles and competition between companies if both options offer the same experience.

          • Pretty sure they DO own the rights to the Video games. It’s the merchandising that they don’t have, and its possible that Lego SDpiderman comes under that, as its techily a merchandise agreement with Lego that allows it to happen.

            As to Spiderman being a ‘core’ marvel, I will agree with that. However, he has never been a major part of the Avengers. He was part of The New Avengers, and the Future Foundation (Fantastic 4 but with Spiderman instead of Human Torch after he died in one of the comics).

            Also, your acting like this only affacts Xbox people. HELLO. The games on PC to mate.

        • Do you actually know that Sony was involved in the Marvel Ultimate Alliance licensing deal, or are you just assuming that it is different to the Lego case?

          It is true that Sony has an exclusive license for Spider-Man in film, but that never extended to games. Prior to the recent Insomniac game, Activision was producing multi-platform licensed Spider-Man games. It’s not at all clear that license was exclusive beyond solo Spider-Man games, and it’s not clear Sony’s one is either.

      • There’s a bit to unpack here.

        It’s true that Sony’s Spider-Man license doesn’t cover every version of the character but seeing as how this game is a spin off from the MCU, this version of Spider-Man falls under Sony.
        Because of that it’s nothing like the Sonic/Tails example because the character isn’t Crystal Dynamics to sell or even develop without Sony’s permission anyway.
        The example of making other characters exclusive would actually be the version of exclusives your criticising.
        I doubt this will harm SquareEnix’s Xbox fan base much.

        Yes, it’s disappointing for other platforms but it’s a little hypocritical to hold Sony to different standards.

        • Sony doesn’t retain video game license rights to Spider-Man. Their ownership rights only extend to the movies.

          • The one area Sony would have leverage is intellectual property created from their films. So they likely have some copyright interest in the specific Spider-Man suit designs from the films, or the significantly different versions of Vulture, Green-Goblin, etc.

            When Marvel Puzzle Quest introduced film inspired versions of Spider-Man and Vulture, the copyright messages were updated to mention Columbia Pictures.

        • Except, this game has nothing to do with the MCU – this game is it own universe with original designs based off the comic book versions

      • *giggle*
        Next time you might wanna hold off on your claims, as it didnt take long for you to be proven wrong about that the Spiderman rights.

    • Yep, sony has every right to do this but it does suck! Not sure i can think of this happening in many other games. Exclusivity within a third party game sucks big time. I dont like it

      • Its happened a couple of times in the Soul Calibur games in the past. The Spawn / Heihachi / Link exclusivity to their respective consoles being the worst offender, since the later Vader / Yoda one got walked back by having them able to be gotten as DLC on the opposing console eventually.

        • Not really. Every console got their own character.

          In this case one console gets an extra character and every other console has working content cut out.

          10/10

    • Why release a game on separate consoles if you’re going to hold content only for specific ones?

      They better make all other console versions cheaper then, considering they are actively cutting working content out of the game.

      Or do you just hate consumer rights?

  • This isn’t like past examples of exclusive content, this is them paying to add their own property to another game.
    (Was likely some collaboration and asset sharing involved too)

  • Ultimately it would of hurt the game, can’t have an exclusive character part of the main storyline, so welcome to side mission spidey.

  • I’m a big comic fan and I was still a bit meh on this game anyway but yeah fuck it not even gonna bother with it now. With Destiny, the exclusives were annoying but after the first year there was enough content that I didn’t care really ( Although finally getting Hawkmoon , only for it to be nerfed, felt pretty bad ). But this feels like even poorer form to me. Why am I gonna go pay the exact same amount of money for a lesser game on my Xbox? I won’t, that’s just b.s.

    If you have to do your exclusives, why not go the Soulcalibur route and give every platform their own little exclusive? That way I’m actually paying for the same amount of shit as the ps4 players get. It’s such a shitty business practice. In this case I know Spiderman is a big pull, but everyone who was going to buy a ps4 for Spidey already did so for last years exclusive anyway.

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