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Tomb Raider's Xbox One Deal Isn't Forever

Phil Spencer makes it sound like Microsoft's simply getting the game first.

Console exclusive! Timed exclusive! The video game industry has done a great disservice to the term exclusive, so much so that we're prone to disbelieve the phrase the moment it's uttered. Microsoft, Square Enix, and Crystal Dynamics announced Rise of the Tomb Raider was an Xbox One exclusive at Gamescom yesterday, but it's actually more complicated than that. Based on additional reporting, it's a timed exclusive.

Eurogamer chatted with head of Xbox Phil Spencer, who was a little more frank about the deal than everyone else yesterday morning.

"I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox," said Spencer. "It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I'm not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don't control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have. I don't know where else Tomb Raider goes."

The "next holiday" phrase was uttered in the original announcement, and it immediately got people wondering if the language was intentional. In a sense, Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox One, but seemingly for the game's launch period. After that, it could very well end up on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC. In light of Spencer's comments, that seems much more likely.

Spencer even expressed sympathy for PlayStation owners who feel slightly betrayed by the news.

"I get the reaction I see," he said. "If I'm a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone. I didn't buy the IP. I didn't buy the studio. It's not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we'll see what happens with the game. I don't own every iteration of Tomb Raider."

Dead Rising 3 will find its way to PC next month, despite being funded and published by Microsoft on Xbox One. Ryse makes the same leap later this year. At the very least, Spencer suggests Rise of the Tomb Raider could end up on PC, but I'm betting it's everywhere sometime in spring or summer 2016.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
152 Comments
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Posted by rmanthorp

Wah wah - this whole this is DUMB

Moderator
Edited by Hassun

... to absolutely nobody's surprise.

The language around it is downright hilarious though.

Posted by spraynardtatum

Was that so hard?

Posted by madman356647

Called it. By the way, tomorrow's lotto numbers are 7 14 26 35 44 and potato.

Posted by csl316

Yep, still sucks that when I hear "exclusive" it'll require several days of fact checking.

Anyway, I want Tomb Raider everywhere. But not on last-gen systems to hold things back.

Online
Posted by pyrodactyl

Well, good on him for clarifying the marketing bullshit

Posted by HammondofTexas

Let me know when this hits PC in 2016, kthxbai

Posted by spraynardtatum

It's like pulling teeth...

Edited by pyrodactyl

Called it. By the way, tomorrow's lotto numbers are 7 14 26 35 44 and potato.

WHAT DOES POTATO STAND FOR? Goddamnit, now I have to buy 49 lotto tickets

Posted by Hailinel

Is Phil Spencer incapable of talking straight? Just tell people it's a timed exclusive. IT'S NOT THAT HARD.

Posted by MEATBALL

Aand now I'm even more disappointed to hear this is a cross gen game.

Posted by JDillinger

MS is such a scummy company.

Posted by BradBrains

Pr was pretty awful for this with both sides saying different things. If they were more clear I think they would have pissed way fewer people off.

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Jeez, big budget AAA game released holiday of 2015 on 360 too? Come on guys, move on to the current gen! If games like Batman and Witcher are, Tomb Raider can too!

Moderator Online
Posted by Frobitz

So, basically not exclusive.

Posted by Gaff

I wonder if Microsoft knows that vague statements like this is allowing the competition to get a lot of cheap shots in.

Edited by RioStarwind

Microsoft really needs to learn how to clearly state their exclusivity deals.

Posted by Shivoa

Cross gen so it'll not look significantly better than the previous game or be able to try out new things with the extra leeway that a current gen only release would afford them. That seems even more of a bummer than the game being limited to the console no one owns for at least a few months.

Edited by Quarters

If it's a timed exclusive, it's still dumb, but I can totally live with it. Though man, their PR language STILL sucks, even after all of the position shifting within the company. I actually thought Sony did better at exclusive talk than usual during their Gamescom conference(though they still had their moments).

Edited by rangers517

"Console exclusive! Timed exclusive! The video game industry has done a great disservice to the term exclusive, so much so that we're prone to disbelieve the phrase the moment it's uttered."

I don't understand what's wrong with those terms. If the xbox press release or Spencer would have actually used "timed exclusive" or "exclusive debut" or whatever, everyone would have known what they meant. The only really confusing phrasing I've seen was the way MS worded this deal specifically and it's good they're being called out by everyone.

Posted by dudeglove

Microsoft continuing its fine legacy of backpedaling and muddling the message then?

Edited by Corvak

If anyone should have been more up front, its Square Enix. It's surprising that MS of all companies is the one to admit its timed, as S-E has the most to gain from that news.

I agree with the over-use of the term exclusive that Patrick opened this piece with. Microsoft is throwing it around for everything. Assassins Creed Unity gets thrown around as Xbox Exclusive when really all it's got is less than an hour or DLC. Microsoft has still made huge improvements to its services, however.

One thing Sony has done, when it's not first party they've avoided general buzzwords and just stuck with "It has ___ only on Playstation." Of course, they aren't any more consumer friendly, given the price hikes on games and consoles we've seen here in Canada, along with those horrible Playstation Now prices.

Sony has by far done a better job with PR so far, but neither of them are free of black marks on their record.

Posted by Sinterklaas

No one cares about timed exclusives, so instead Microsoft forces developers and publishers to be vague about the exclusivity and its duration. Same thing happened with Plants vs Zombies GW.

Posted by madman356647
Edited by gerrid

I guess they knew it would come out eventually, but just hoped that the press would report it as a complete exclusive in the first instance due to the shady wording, and they would get that PR message home. The importance of that first impression.

Of course Eurogamer and so on reporting it almost uncritically as 'a complete exclusive' did exactly that. Now anyone who misses these follow-up articles will be none the wiser, and any of the less enthusiast publications who reported it as an exclusive will be unlikely to follow it up like this.

The danger of everyone rushing to get the BIG NEWS to the front page as soon as it breaks.

Posted by CrimsonAvenger

It's going to be on the 360 too? We're talking holiday 2015, a full two years into the new generation of consoles. There is no reason to release a game by that time on to the 360.

Posted by Elvicerator

I don't really believe Phil Spencer when he says "I don't know where else Tomb Raider goes." I think he knows perfectly well, either from talking to Crystal Dynamics about it or from pure common sense. That game will be on the PC, and seems like it would come to the PS4 as a GOTY edition or whatever also. Saying "I don't know" implies there's a possibility that the game will just have the Xbox release and never come out on anything else.

Edited by James_Hayward

The general reaction to this news seems disproportional. It isn't great for some consumers but it is business and makes obvious sense from that perspective. I haven't understood what people are feeling entitled to expect here?

Posted by Irvandus

Seems like game companies being game companies.

Posted by connerthekewlkid

Welcome to video games where the Exclusives are made up and the sales don't matter, that's right the sales don't matter!

On today's show we've got Tomb Raider, No Mans Sky, Oddworld, Metal Gear Solid 5, Final Fantasy 15 and much much more!

Posted by playastation

Guys...

is Destiny coming to pc? Serious question haha.

Edited by TheSouthernDandy

Totally didn't see this coming. Yes I'm being sarcastic. I'm still surprised how upset people got about the original announcement. Yeah exclusives suck but if it's not first part the likely hood it stays exclusive is reeeal low. I also like how relatively upfront Phil Spencer is. He seems like a pretty good dude.

Edited by MrGtD

Guys...

is Destiny coming to pc? Serious question haha.

No, but Destiny 2 will.

Posted by playastation
Posted by spraynardtatum

I also like how relatively upfront Phil Spencer is. He seems like a pretty good dude.

Relatively being the key word here.

Edited by usernameya

While I always thought this has to be a timed exclusive, I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

Having said all that, terrible marketing strategy by Microsoft. I'm sure they were very aware of the wording they were using and intentionally left out the word "first" or "timed" during their announcement. All in the hopes that consumers would think "hey, one more reason to get an Xbox as this game doesn't appear to be coming out on anything else." How they didn't see this reaction coming because of the wording they used really astounds me and makes me think they're more clueless than I thought.

Edited by patrickklepek

@usernameya said:

I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

I'm all for being patient with reporting the news, but there was nothing ambiguous about what Microsoft announced yesterday. It said it was an exclusive to Xbox One. That word has a very specific term, and Microsoft deliberately mislead people. Microsoft knew exactly what it was doing when it trotted out that term the way it did.

Staff
Posted by BradBrains

@usernameya said:

I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

I'm all for being patient with reporting the news, but there was nothing ambiguous about what Microsoft announced yesterday. It said it was an exclusive to Xbox One. That word has a very specific term, and Microsoft deliberately mislead people. Microsoft knew exactly what it was doing when it trotted out that term the way it did.

exactly. and this is the real story. this included microsoft directly responding after the fact to people who said it was probably a timed exclusive with the opposite information.

It will be interesting to see how this effects sales. I mean microsoft already doesn't have have huge grab of gamers right now and I wonder how many who were thinking of investing to get the game will not based on how they feel they were treated.

Posted by connerthekewlkid

@patrickklepek said:

@usernameya said:

I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

I'm all for being patient with reporting the news, but there was nothing ambiguous about what Microsoft announced yesterday. It said it was an exclusive to Xbox One. That word has a very specific term, and Microsoft deliberately mislead people. Microsoft knew exactly what it was doing when it trotted out that term the way it did.

exactly. and this is the real story. this included microsoft directly responding after the fact to people who said it was probably a timed exclusive with the opposite information.

It will be interesting to see how this effects sales. I mean microsoft already doesn't have have huge grab of gamers right now and I wonder how many who were thinking of investing to get the game will not based on how they feel they were treated.

I usually judge the average opinion by the comments section on IGN and the consensus seems to be "im upset about this but still going to buy it"

Edited by xyzygy

I (and others on the site) fucking knew it. And so many were getting their shit out of order yesterday.

I'm glad that Phil Spencer is able to just say what he wants and doesn't seem to hide behind shit like this.

Posted by Humanity

@darkstalker said:

@patrickklepek said:

@usernameya said:

I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

I'm all for being patient with reporting the news, but there was nothing ambiguous about what Microsoft announced yesterday. It said it was an exclusive to Xbox One. That word has a very specific term, and Microsoft deliberately mislead people. Microsoft knew exactly what it was doing when it trotted out that term the way it did.

exactly. and this is the real story. this included microsoft directly responding after the fact to people who said it was probably a timed exclusive with the opposite information.

It will be interesting to see how this effects sales. I mean microsoft already doesn't have have huge grab of gamers right now and I wonder how many who were thinking of investing to get the game will not based on how they feel they were treated.

I usually judge the average opinion by the comments section on IGN and the consensus seems to be "im upset about this but still going to buy it"

I think the word "misled" carries a lot of weight with it which may or may not be deserved in this situation. Each time Sony or Microsoft sign these sort of deals the wording is intentionally vague, and this has become an industry standard. How many times have we seen Playstation use similar wording for clearly multiplatform titles that they marketed as if they were Sony exclusives. Saying something that isn't true is one thing, but simply not saying everything is something else entirely. I will agree that it is, unfortunately, common practice for both parties at the moment.

Posted by BradBrains

@darkstalker said:

@patrickklepek said:

@usernameya said:

I'm actually quite disappointed on the reporting of this whole tomb raider thing. It seems like everyone that reported on this, including here on giant bomb, reported the story as though this was for sure a lifetime exclusive. It would've been nice if in their articles, reporters stated that they were awaiting for further clarification or definitive confirmation about whether or not this was the case, as we've gotten now. While it is their job to report the news as it happens, on a story like this where there is much confusion considering how the statement was made at the conference, it would've been better to see the story reported as a possibility of lifetime exclusivity rather than a statement of fact.

I'm all for being patient with reporting the news, but there was nothing ambiguous about what Microsoft announced yesterday. It said it was an exclusive to Xbox One. That word has a very specific term, and Microsoft deliberately mislead people. Microsoft knew exactly what it was doing when it trotted out that term the way it did.

exactly. and this is the real story. this included microsoft directly responding after the fact to people who said it was probably a timed exclusive with the opposite information.

It will be interesting to see how this effects sales. I mean microsoft already doesn't have have huge grab of gamers right now and I wonder how many who were thinking of investing to get the game will not based on how they feel they were treated.

I usually judge the average opinion by the comments section on IGN and the consensus seems to be "im upset about this but still going to buy it"

much like the people that said they would leave twitch forever this is probably the minority. but when you have a smaller peice of the gaming pie even a small amount of people can make a difference. I guess my point is it will be really interesting to see the sales numbers for this...in like a year and half : /

Posted by KaneRobot

EX-CLUUUUUSIVE

Posted by Nakiro

No surprise here.

I do have to agree that Microsoft's wording was obtuse on purpose.

Posted by RVonE

I'm still on the fence about these consoles but something about the clear language in which Sony communicated their timed exclusives at the show, yesterday, was really refreshing.

Posted by tp0p

I still think it might not come to sony platforms. Sounds like it might just come to PC.

Edited by Tortoise

So Microsoft is basically spending money to stop some Playstation owning kids getting the game they want for Christmas? Nice one, Microsoft. Suck it up and wait 'til next Easter little Jimmy!

Posted by ADAMWD

@crimsonavenger: This is Square Enix we're talking about, they need all the sales they can get. 80 million people own a 360. By Holiday 2015, there might be 20 million Xbox One owners. We'll be seeing 360 and PS3 versions of new releases for quite some time.

Posted by billyok

Rise of the Tomb Raider's PS4 release date: January 2, 2016.

Posted by JimmyPancakes

The thing they are counting on is that a huge number of people who dont follow the news might just hear that its an xbox one exclusive and take that at face value. No matter how many qualifications they make to twitter or press, that idea will be implanted in many TR fans heads. So good idea for them to mislead and then apologise later. Get to reap the benefits of the obfuscation in a ton of customers. Pretty shitty but thats how they keep showing that's how they operate.

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