Marvel "is a big company" and they license a lot of their IP, which has a "huge impact on things" like release schedules. It's at retail because Japan is still "very much not a DLC market."
This year SEGA released games based on Thor and then Captain America. Activision went with Spider-Man: Edge of Time and Silicon Knights' X-Men: Destiny. There's not much breathing room.
Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 release window is born of "things most gamers don't care about, even though they're realities that affect every gamer's life," said Capcom's Seth Killian. "Marvel is a big company that has their own schedule of licenses with windows," he explained. "They have a huge impact on things like that. To have the wide range of characters we've been able to have in the game..."
"We have the license for this specific game, but other companies outside of Capcom have licenses for other Marvel games that impinge. So we have to find specific times where we're able to release products. It's on the Capcom side and on the Marvel side." Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 arrives this month for Xbox 360 and PS3.
In July next year Activision will launch the Spider-Man movie-tie game, from developer Beenox. "I don't ask anybody to feel sympathetic about that," Killian added. "These kinds of corporate realities and legal contracts and things like that shape all of our lives whether we like it or realise it or not."
It's a disc release and not a DLC add-on because of the Japanese gaming culture still tends to reject downloadable content, unlike in the western hemisphere. "Japan is still very much not a DLC market. DLC sales in general in Japan are vastly lower than they are here, even with popular games."
"DLC is not as much of a going concern. And online gaming in general is a lower adoption rate. The percentage of people playing any given title online in Japan is much lower." Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 releases on Xbox 360 and PS3 November 15th in the US, 17th in Japan and 18th in Europe. It will also release on PlayStation Vita.