There’s no doubt that the 2018 Spider-Man video game for the PlayStation 4 was one of SONY’s most popular licensed exclusive games for the platform. Often considered one of if not the best Spider-Man video game ever made (next to the 2004 Spider-Man 2 video game), selling around 20 Million units worldwide.
But what if I were to tell you that this game may not have happened had things played out differently. Had Marvel not partnered with SONY to produce Marvel themed video games, but instead partnered with Microsoft to make games for the Xbox platform. Well apparently this actually almost happened.
According to an excerpt from the book The Ultimate History of Video Games Vol. 2 by Seven L. Kent, Marvel Games President, Jay Ong, went into detail about how this came about.
In 2014 Activision, the then holder of the Spider-Man video game license, released a tie-in game to The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Marvel was apparently unhappy with the quality of the product and decided to pull the plug on the licensing deal. After saying he wanted to find the IP a “better home” Activision replied “good luck finding your unicorn“.
Ong then decided to have meetings with both Microsoft and SONY about a potential licensing deal. It is somewhat odd that he went to the console manufacturers as opposed to a big 3rd party studio.
Ong approached Microsoft first, saying “We don’t have any big console deals with anyone right now, what would you like to do?“. But Microsoft said that they wanted to focus on their own IPs for the time. During this time Microsoft was trying to turn their business around after the poor launch of the Xbox One in 2013. Phil Spencer had just taken over as head of Xbox and wanted to have the company focus on new and original games.
Ong then approached SONY and they agreed, insisting that then 3rd party studio Insomniac Games develop it. And the rest is history.
So imagine if Microsoft had agreed. You’d be swinging across New York City and fighting bad guys on the same console as Halo, Gears of War, Forza and Killer Instinct.
Source: Video Games Chronicle
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