Activision X-tends Marvel licensing deals

Publisher sews up game rights to X-Men, Spider-Man franchises through 2017.

In the '80s and '90s, superhero games were generally thought of as the same kind of unplayable licensed tripe that would be rushed out in support of a blockbuster movie or popular kid's cartoon. When Activision published Neversoft's Spider-Man on the PlayStation in 2000, that began to change.

Since picking up the licenses to Marvel Comic's webheaded wonder and the mutant superteam X-Men, Activision has sold more than 25 million games based on the pair of properties. The company has no intention of letting a golden goose like that get away. Today it announced that it has extended its licensing agreements with Marvel to lock up the franchises until 2017 on PC, handheld, and console platforms. Previously the deals were set to expire in 2009.

Bruno Maglione, president of Marvel International, explained one of the company's main reasons for the deal extension. "Activision is one of a handful of players who can truly execute worldwide in this business," Maglione said. "Spider-Man and X-Men are major global franchises. Because of this, it is always critical for us to partner with companies committed to maximizing success internationally. Activision's results on a worldwide scale with these brands demonstrated to us that they can and will continue to do that."

The most recent fruits of the agreement between the two companies are the multiplatform games X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse and Ultimate Spider-Man. In recent years, Activision has also made Marvel games based on the Fantastic Four and Iron Man.

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