In the starting blocks for this generation, Microsoft has not always made the right choices in the era of Xbox One. The proof, the publisher refused the one that became one of the biggest sales of 2018.
This is called missing a big opportunity. Before getting their hands on big studios like Activision-Blizzard or Bethesda, Xbox ran into some strategic mishaps. To the point of being missed out on one of the biggest PS4 exclusives.
When Microsoft Denied Xbox Exclusive Marvel Games
The release of the book The Ultimate History of Video Games Volume 2 had gone unnoticed until then. It was without counting on a member of Resetera who shared one of the crispiest details of the work. The book in question indeed traces Marvel’s journey to enter the video game industry more aggressively. And before reaching an agreement with Sony to create the exclusive PS4 Spider-Man, Marvel Games first approached its rival.
When Jay Ong was named head of Marvel’s gaming arm in 2014, his first challenge was to figure out why the MCU’s success didn’t resonate with the gaming world. There were quite a few games here and there that found their audience, but nothing impressive in terms of sales. He directly ignored Nintendo, too focused on his own licenses, and he directly came into contact with Xbox and PlayStation.
Insomniac Games, the unicorn of Marvel Games
A golden opportunity, since Marvel’s Spider-Man from Insomniac alone represents more than 20 million units sold. Yet, when it came up with a Marvel game that could rival the Batman Arkham series in terms of quality and popularity, Microsoft outright declined. Yes, the Redmond firm refused to have Xbox Marvel exclusives for ” focus on own licenses ” at that time.
Conversely, Sony immediately agreed to the deal and handed the project over to Insomniac, who then began work on Marvel’s Spider-Man. At the time, the studio also tended to prioritize its own franchises over existing ones. Sony was finally convinced that Insomniac was the right choice for this project and it paid off.
The agreement between Sony and Marvel, however, came up against another obstacle: recovering the rights of the spider-man then in the hands of Activision. It was ultimately child’s play since the publisher bought by Microsoft (the irony) was content to “wish good luck” to the Marvel employee to “find the unicorn” that would make better Spider-Games. Man. Eight years later, Insomniac Games has been a hit, to the point of working on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and Wolverine, two highly anticipated games.