Following on the success of the 2018 release, the upcoming side-sequel might turn out to be a bigger deal than most people think.
The PS4 had multiple generation-defining titles. But perhaps more than any of those, Marvel’s Spider-Man showed the immense power branding, and the Marvel brand’s ability to seamlessly translate into a successful exclusive video game by handily outselling many wildly popular multi-platform games despite only being playable on one console. Regardless of its few flaws, Marvel’s Spider-Man sold ridiculously well. As one would easily expect, a follow-up was immediately planned and now we know what that is, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.
Miles Morales is a popular side-character from the original game and goes pretty far back in Spider-Man lore as an important character. Insomniac could have easily just played things by the book and given us more Peter Parker, but going in this direction with a very different character is proving to be quite interesting as people are currently trying to guess everything that will be different about this game from the last. We do currently know that it will be a smaller game than 2018’s Spider-Man, as it is sort of serving a dual-purpose of being a standalone expansion to that game as well as a prologue to the inevitable Spider-Man 2, but that should really only generate more interest than it will lose. This, on top of many other things, is why Spider-Man: Miles Morales has a good shot at being the biggest game of the year.
Another one of those reasons is the fact that the install base is already here. Out of all the games that have and are coming out this year, many of them are brand new IP like Ghost of Tsushima and Cyberpunk 2077. While those games did and are definitely benefiting from nice fat marketing budgets and have plenty of interest, they don’t have the luxury of a pre-assembled fanbase ready to go on day one like Miles Morales does. It’s true that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs Legion do have that, sort of, but those games would have to surprise us quite a bit to overtake anything with the Spider-Man name on it at this point.
Fans of the web-slinging arachno-hero don’t just go back to 2018 either- no, there’s been fans of Spider-Man games for over 20 years now. While most older fans of the IP will cite the PS1 or Dreamcast games as their favorite and ignore everything else leading up to 2018, that still doesn’t take away from the fact that this IP, at this point, appeals to a massively wide-array of gamers from completely different generations. There’s not much else coming out this year that can say that. This could be totally voided out if it reviews poorly of course, but given the fact that it has that Sony 1st-party polish, an already outstanding game engine and world ready to go, and an appropriate price tag, that scenario seems unlikely at most.
On top of being a long-beloved franchise in the eyes of millions of gamers around the world, Spider-Man: Miles Morales is coming to a brand new console that is likely to outsell it’s competition, at least at first. There are two benefits to this. One, Miles Morales will be taking advantage of the new features of the PS5 like the haptic feedback and ultra-fast solid state drive, and that is sure to pique many gamers’ interest as they choose what games to get with their brand spankin’ new piece of gaming hardware. Two, it’s going to likely be a launch title for the PS5, meaning that the attachment rate of this game with PS5’s sold will be extremely high. As anybody who has been a day-one adopter of a new console knows, every launch window only has a small handful of games to choose from, and you’re not going to buy a brand new console without at least one new game, right? Right.
So, then, what are the odds that most PS5 adopters will pick up a copy of Spider-Man: Miles Morales as well? I would say, pretty good. When you pick up a brand new console within the launch window, the urge to get something that’s only playable on that system and really shows off what that system can do is quite high and hard to resist for obvious reasons. Most of the other games launching at the end of this year don’t meet that particular qualification, as they will also be launching on previous generation consoles, which might give off the impression they won’t take full advantage of the new hardware. This includes Ubisoft’s upcoming games and Cyberpunk. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Miles Morales outsell those games among PS5 adopters.
Another big thing that gamers will consider when picking out their first next-gen game is the price. Yet again, in this department, advantage Miles Morales. While Insomniac has not confirmed this yet, there is plenty of solid reason to believe that Miles Morales will launch well under the typical new game price of $60. This is a result of the game being a smaller experience than the previous entry, but I don’t think that’s going to stop anybody who’s interested in buying it. In fact, it will probably lead to even more sales.
After dropping half a grand on a new console, it might not seem like it matters as to whether or not you buy a $40- game or a $60 game at that point, but I assure you, it does. Especially to all those who might not game themselves but are picking up a PS5 as a gift for somebody else. Are those folks, who don’t really know the difference between Watch Dogs or Spider-Man to begin with, going to really look at much other than that price difference when deciding which game to get? Some might. I would wager most won’t. No matter how you slice it, the cheaper price of Spider-Man: Miles Morales is going to end up as a huge advantage in the PS5 launch-window line-up.
While 2020 is going to see many fantastic titles with plenty of reasons to buy them and it’s going to be a great six months for games in general, Spider-Man: Miles Morales definitely has a few tricks up its sleeve that sets it apart from other games it’s competing with. Whether you consider its built-in audience that was formed decades ago and has only been enlarged since, or the fact that other PS5 launch titles aren’t nearly as attention grabbing, or just the fact that it’s going to be slightly cheaper than most of its competition, it’s hard to imagine the game not selling extremely well and likely defining the launch of the PS5. Miles Morales is perfectly positioned to bring more PS4 players over to PS5 than would otherwise come over, as well as sell like hotcakes among those who were going to get a PS5 at launch anyway. With all of that considered, it’s easy to see that this game could very well come out from behind and end up being one of the biggest games of the year.
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