In a move already being roundly criticized 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.