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Xbox reportedly turned down an exclusive development deal from Marvel Games

Spider-Man was almost an Xbox exclusive, as Marvel Games looked to strike a new licensing deal in the 2010s, according to Marvel Games Executive Vice President and Head Jay Ong.

In an extract from 2021 book by Steven L. Kent The Definitive History of Video Games Vol. 2 (via ResetEra Y CVG), Ong detailed how games tied to Activision’s Amazing Spider-Man movie had left Marvel Games unhappy regarding their overall quality, with both companies mutually agreeing to end Marvel’s licensing agreement in 2014.

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Playing now: Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 vs PS5 Comparison

After Activision asked what Marvel would do when the game’s IP rights were returned, he replied that it would be to find a “better home” for them, to which Activision replied, “good luck finding your unicorn,” according to Ong.

Marvel Games then went to Microsoft to see if a deal could be struck to form an exclusive partnership, but Microsoft turned down the offer as it was more concerned with focusing on its own IP. Sony was more interested in acquiring the rights to the Spider-Man IP video game, and Marvel Games accepted their proposal to develop an AAA experience with one of their “important partners”.

Insomniac Games was revealed to be that crucial partner, and a few years later, Marvel’s Spider-Man launched to rave reviews and box office sales. The game has currently sold over 20 million copies since 2018, while its spin-off Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales has sold another 6.5 million units since its release in late 2020.

Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was announced at the PlayStation Showcase presentation in September 2021, and Insomniac is also working on a Wolverine game that is said to have a darker, more mature tone.

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