Superhero games continue to penetrate online gaming

Simon Blish

Given the recent expansions of both the DC and Marvel cinematic universes, it’s no surprise to see our favourite superheroes everywhere these days.

Our cape wearing and spandex-clad icons have made the leap from the big screen and onto coffee mugs, backpacks, t-shirts and even video games, with our review of the brooding superhero in the Arkham Knight video game, featured here previously.

Indeed, superhero-focused video games like the Batman video game trilogy were highly anticipated and came out to rave reviews, but that’s not the only case. For example, did you know that the PS4-exclusive Spider-Man game is credited with driving up profits for Sony during the middle of 2018?

In fact, the Insomniac-produced title managed to sell 3.3 million units within just three days of its release. This is despite the fact that sales for PS4 units themselves were slowing down, decreasing from 4.2 million units in Q2 last year to 3.9 million.

Overall, revenue earned by Sony for that quarter saw a massive boost, as much as 27% over the previous year. Combined with the success of other first-party titles, Sony’s overall profits for 2018 reportedly soared as much as 65%. Given the role that the Spider-Man franchise had to play in these numbers, it is apparent that comic book superheroes form an integral part of the gaming industry’s revenue stream.

The expanding role that superheroes are playing does not stop there. Marvel has recently announced an upcoming title in the works, to be made in collaboration with former Blizzard developers and with the backing of Netease, a Chinese gaming company with an extensive mobile portfolio. Though no other details have been announced about the game, it has been confirmed that it will be a mobile title and represent the company’s expansion into the world of mobile gaming.

Similarly, superheroes have even expanded into online casino gaming. Sandlot Games’ superhero slot title Thunderstruck is loosely inspired by Thor, as it looks to take advantage of the ongoing superhero frenzy surrounding the genre most famous characters.

Given the recent success of movies like Avengers: Endgame, Marvel fans should expect to see more of their favourite characters in the future. DC is not to be left behind either, with A Place to Hang Your Cape detailing how characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman have long had games of their own, with imagery from their movies and TV shows incorporated in the gameplay.

Of course, DC has also been making an impact on the gaming industry in other ways. As mentioned above, not only have Batman video games been widely successful, but they are often credited with shaping the studios that develop them. This is due to the fact that Batman: Arkham Asylum, the first in a series of Batman-related titles to be produced by Rocksteady Studios, came before the dawn of the superhero as a cultural titan and when superhero video games were largely undervalued. The game then became a huge hit, spawning a genre-defining series that continues to this day.

The presence of rumours surrounding upcoming releases suggest that DC are not resting on their laurels, with Warner Bros. allegedly planning to release more games assembling Batman and the rest of the Justice League crew in order to compete with a slew of future Marvel games. One of these rumoured upcoming titles is, of course, another Rocksteady-produced Batman release.

The presence and success of numerous superhero video games is a true testament to how much our caped crusaders have done for the industry. Indeed, if past figures and reviews are any indication, expect these heroes to continue delighting video game fans for a long, long time.

About Simon Blish

Writing, drawing, editing - Simon loves it all.