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Marvel's Spider-Man could have been an Xbox game, but Microsoft declined

Microsoft once turned down Marvel's offer to make exclusive games for Xbox in favor of its own IP.

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The Insomniac Spider-Man games are now synonymous with Sony and PlayStation consoles, but things could have gone quite differently. Once upon a time, Marvel Games pitched Microsoft on the idea of making exclusive video games, including Spider-Man, for Xbox, but Microsoft declined the offer.

The news of Marvel almost going with Microsoft and Xbox before landing at PlayStation was detailed in the book The Ultimate History of Video Games, Volume 2, which was released last year. The particular tidbit about Marvel and Xbox was pointed out in a ResetEra post we spotted thanks to The Gamer.

According to Executive Vice President and head of Marvel Games Jay Ong, Microsoft turned down the offer to publish Marvel games for its platform because it wanted to focus on its own IP.

It wasn’t much later that Ong sat down with PlayStation executives and pitched them the same idea. The group then came up with the idea for a AAA Spider-Man game that would be a PlayStation console exclusive. Fast forward several years and Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales are two of the most celebrated superhero video games ever made. With a sequel in the works and developer Insomniac now tackling a Wolverine game, the Marvel deal has been massive for Sony.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and the team at Xbox would likely be tripping over themselves to accept Marvel’s offer if they could do it over again. Unfortunately, that’s not how the business goes. Either way, it’s fascinating to take a peek into how some of the most successful games in recent memory could have ended up on the other side of the fence.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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