Exclusive content in multiplatform games is in serious controversy this week. The superhero Spider-Man is only coming to the PS4 and PS5 versions of Marvel's Avengers. Companies try to attract consumers with these kinds of deals, but it backfires for fanatic gamers. Well, at first glance.

In addition to the fact that players will be able to hang around with Spider-Man sometime after the release of Marvel’s Avengers only on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, there is apparently other exclusive content for the game coming to those systems. For example, exclusive challenges will come to the PlayStation versions of the game, as well as all kinds of cosmetic items. Although PC, Xbox and PlayStation gamers pay the same amount of money for the game, the latter will soon be able to get more value from their purchase.

Marvel’s Avengers is now under attack, many gamers are screaming murder and fire but of course it’s by no means the only game where this is happening. Each generation, Activision chooses a platform holder who will receive exclusive marketing rights for Call of Duty. That platform will also receive beta and downloadable content for the games much earlier. This generation draws the longest straw from Sony, the previous generation was Microsoft. Exclusive content for Warzone on PlayStation 4 was also announced this week, but there was significantly less fuss about it.

If you think that only Sony is guilty of this, then you are very wrong. Microsoft is just as involved, even though they have been carefully trying to build a reputation as a consumer-friendly company in recent years. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 and The Medium, for example, are temporarily exclusively coming to Xbox Series X. You can bet that these games would also have appeared on PlayStation 5 if Microsoft hadn’t thrown a bag of buck on the table. More similar to the Spider-Man debacle is the upcoming multiplayer update for Tetris Effect, which should not be released on Sony’s consoles until next year. Microsoft does not wash its hands in innocence.

And it is not crazy either: bringing temporarily exclusive content to your platform is a proven way to make your system more attractive to the consumer. Is your favorite series Call of Duty? Chances are you played the series on the PlayStation 4 this generation. Love Marvel and Spider-Man in particular? Then you want to buy Marvel’s Avengers on a Sony console. If the PC-like shooters and horror games that initially only appear on Xbox Series X appeal to you, it will be tempting to buy Microsoft’s new system.

These exclusive deals are also a nice extra for developers of games. The gaming industry is a killer and it remains to be seen how well or badly your game sells. If a company like Microsoft or Sony already pays out part of the development costs in advance in order to arrange temporary exclusivity, the chances are that your studio will continue to exist in the coming years. That means making a new game and – more importantly – making money so you can feed your family and pay off your mortgage. It will be a shock to those developers that a small group of gamers complain about it on a forum – getting a living is more important!

As mentioned, we can scream murder and fire on the internet, but apparently we don’t mind too much. We really talk with our money. If those exclusive deals hadn’t worked, or even hurt the sale of a game, they’d long since died out. But it works, so they persist. It’s not rocket science.

Is there a solution, a way to get rid of those annoying exclusive deals? Not really. We could all agree globally to penalize publishers for this type of practice and stop buying the games where this happens. However, not only is it extremely unlikely that we will get anyone to boycott a game, we also punish many developers who have nothing to do with the closed deal and who have poured blood, sweat and tears into a game for years.

So we have to learn to live with it. If possible, you have all the platforms in house, but otherwise I hope the game you are looking forward to will appear completely on your system of your choice. In a perfect world, console farmers like Sony and Microsoft would stop making these kinds of deals on their own. They would realize that the market is big enough for both of them, that the quality of the various games, including of course their internally developed exclusive titles, is such that they no longer need exclusive deals. The company that dares to do this is the really tough one.