Yesterday, Sony announced that Spider-Man would be an exclusive hero for Marvel’s Avengers, the upcoming live service superhero game by Crystal Dynamics, on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. Generally, the game has a bit of a PlayStation leaning in its marketing, as the beta that is beginning later this week is starting out for PlayStation 4 players before anyone else, and is prioritizing PS4 as it opens up. The full schedule reads as follows:
- PlayStation 4 pre-orders grant access to the beta on August 7.
- Xbox One and PC pre-orders grant access a week later on August 14, with PlayStation 4 players getting open access to the beta regardless of whether they’ve pre-ordered or not.
- Then the beta is completely open for everyone on every available platform on August 21.
The Spider-Man announcement, while not entirely surprising, was a lower blow for Xbox and PC players because the character is universally beloved by Marvel fans. But Sony owns rights to the character, even getting Insomniac to create two PlayStation exclusive games starring the webslinger with Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4 and the upcoming spin-off sequel Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales which will be coming to PS5 when it launches later this year.
But as it turns out, beta access and the opportunity to play as Peter Parker aren’t all PlayStation fans will be getting over Xbox and PC players. According to a new post on the PlayStation Blog, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 users will be getting early access to cosmetic items, including a 30-day exclusivity deal for a Legendary Outfit, Legendary Emote, Epic Takedown, and nameplate for each character as they’re released. This will included Hawkeye, who is the first of several planned playable characters that will be added as time goes on. PlayStation Plus subscribers will also get free bundles that include a Rare Outfit, nameplate, and 100 Credits each time a new character arrives. On launch day, the first of these bundles focusing on Ms. Marvel will be granted to Plus subscribers.
Along with cosmetics, PlayStation players will also have exclusive community challenges, each with specific rewards that can only be attained by completing those challenges that aren’t on Xbox or PC.
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So while Spider-Man might have been a Sony deal involving rights to the character, Marvel’s Avengers just generally seems to be leaning toward PlayStation across the board. These kinds of deals are kind of the norm for big franchises in the AAA space, especially heading into console launch season when Sony and Microsoft are looking for any deal or exclusive to attract anyone who’s still deciding on which platform they want (don’t get me started on Dragon Age: Inquisition’s first DLC coming to Xbox before PlayStation). There’s a business reality to these kinds of things, but that doesn’t help people who have paid for one box to find that a game they’re excited for has given several exclusives to the competing platform. While this can, and probably should, be framed as a cheap shot in the console wars, the economic reality for a lot of people is that they can’t afford both systems and these kinds of deals are a bummer. Especially in a superhero game that has huge appeal for kids who don’t understand why they can’t get all the cool stuff their friends got on a different system.
Marvel’s Avengers is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on September 4. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions will be coming out when those consoles do, but we still don’t have a release date for either beyond “holiday 2020.”