It’s never going to happen. I know that, and those that clicked the link to this article to comment below know that as well – so there’s no need to inform me. The truth of the matter is that Sony footed the bill for various aspects of Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man and so it will forever remain a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and that’s just how this business works – and understandably so.
What makes Spider-Man such an interesting case, however, is that Disney opted to provide Sony with the license rather than attempt to go after a larger audience by making it multi-platform. There could be a number of reasons it played out the way it has, with Sony’s current ownership of the Spider-Man film rights being something of note, but from a potential sales angle it doesn’t make all that much sense.
Now, there’s no denying that the PlayStation 4 is currently leading over Nintendo Switch (over 15 million sold) and Xbox One (over 37 million sold) with over 77 million units sold (via VGChartz). When the difference is that large, deciding on which platform to call home becomes simple, but that’s still a lot of potential consumers that have been given the cold shoulder; this holds especially true when the current user base on PC is as substantial as it is.
As a third-party developer, Insomniac Games can build titles for whichever company takes interest in their services – but more often than not they’ve been contracted to tackle AAA exclusives. So far the studio has been at the helm for PlayStation projects like Ratchet & Clank, Resistance, and the initial Spyro the Dragon trilogy, but hasn’t shied away from playing nice with the competition by also locking down Sunset Overdrive as an exclusive for Microsoft’s Xbox One. In that regard, the developer has established itself as a go-to for companies in need of unique ideas and quality games, which makes the firm a no-brainer for developing a Spider-Man game.
In that light, Disney/Marvel could have approached the studio with this task and brought it to a medley of platforms on its own dime – but that is a risk that Disney isn’t eager to take. Instead, the deal needed a publisher involved that was willing to fund and then mass produce, and that license (as well as a price tag) seemingly fell into the lap of Sony where Spider-Man went on to become a PlayStation 4-only romp.
At least, that much was confirmed by Insomniac Games’ official twitter account:
So, this isn’t a case similar to that of Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, where the title was a timed exclusive to the platform for roughly a year. No, much like Gears of War‘s commitment to Xbox prior to the intellectual property’s sale to Microsoft, PlayStation is forever where the game will remain – unless Sony opts to begin publishing for other platforms. While it would be great if fans of all console preferences could jump into the role of everyone’s friendly neighbourhood such-and-such, it’s just not going to happen.
To tie in with the headline for this article, though: Should Spider-Man come to Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC? Yes. There’s no question it would be an ideal means of appeasing Marvel fans. But Sony wants a return on investment via hardware sales just as much as software sales with its exclusives and – given the spectacle and excitement surrounding the game – it should achieve just that.
Spider-Man arrives exclusively for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro systems on September 7, 2018.
Feel free to follow Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle if you at all feel compelled to tell him he’s a big idiot. Or maybe you just want to chat games? He’s hoping it’s the latter.