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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.

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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+