How Microsoft Turning Down A Marvel Deal Led To PlayStation's Exclusive On The Spider-Man Games

The console wars have deeply divided gamers for as long as I've been around, and I've been around a long, long time. In recent years, Nintendo has been happy to be off on their own little island, doing what they do best and fostering their own IP while Sony and Microsoft duke it out for Next Gen console dominance. 

For the longest time, this battle was waged based on exclusivity, with PlayStation handily defeating Microsoft on titles you can only play on their system. Some of the best games of the last 10 years can only be found on PlayStation, namely "The Last of Us," "Uncharted," "God of War" and, yes, "Spider-Man."

When it comes to "Spider-Man" that wasn't always the case. In fact, a book released last year called "The Ultimate History of Video Games Vol. 2" by Steven L. Kent shed some light on how Sony PlayStation ended up with the license for "Spider-Man" — and it turns out Microsoft is kind of to blame. 

According to Vice President and Head of Marvel Games Jay Ong, Microsoft was the first place the company went after Marvel split from Activision, saying they needed to find a home with "a deep pool of talent, commitment to quality, and inexhaustibly deep pockets." They also needed to convince their new overlords that licensed games weren't all crappy and worthy of the kind of investment an IP like "Spider-Man" deserved.

Microsoft's loss was PlayStation's gain

According to Ong, Microsoft took a look at Marvel's offer and turned their noses up, preferring to focus on their own IP and that opened the door wide open for Sony, who not only took the offer seriously, but brought in their big guns at Insomniac Games who were all beyond excited to take a stab at bringing "Spider-Man" to life.

Not only did they knock it out of the park, giving gamers the experience of swinging around New York City minus the whole being bitten by a genetically-altered spider part, but the game proved to be a massive success for PlayStation. "Marvel's Spider-Man" has sold over 20 million copies since it was released in 2018, and while we don't have up to date figures on its spin-off, "Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales" we do know that it sold 6.5 million copies within 8 months of its release.

So, yeah. Microsoft screwed up big time passing on this title. PlayStation has a full-on "Spider-Man" sequel in the works as well as a stand alone "Wolverine" game, which is almost guaranteed to print money for them.

It definitely feels like Microsoft has learned from their mistakes, especially with the news of them buying Bethesda and the very real possibility that huge titles like "Elder Scrolls" and "Fallout" will be Xbox exclusives. 

All the business BS and gaming politics aside, "Spider-Man" ended up right where it should have. Insomniac was the right company to bring ol' webhead to life, and no matter your console preference, you've got to acknowledge when a great game is a great game.