The Gamescom announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an Xbox exclusive managed to upset a lot of Playstation and PC owners who were eager to play the game on their platforms when it releases. Granted, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer confirmed that the game will only be timed exclusive so developer Crystal Dynamics can do whatever they want with it after the deal expires, including releasing it on other platforms. The head of Xbox emphasized the fact that no one owns the rights to the IP except for its developer so people should stop blaming Microsoft for the exclusivity deal. He also suggests that we should also stop asking questions such as “how long does the deal last?” because he can’t disclose that information at this time. Fair enough.
On the other hand, Spencer was able to give some details regarding Microsoft’s close relation with Square Enix as well as some other topics of interest. As you may or may not know, a lot of gamers also blamed both the publisher and the developer of Rise of the Tomb Raider and have accused them of selling out to Microsoft. However, as Spencer points out, Microsoft has been close to the companies working on the Tomb Raider franchise since back in 2009 so this deal shouldn’t really be that surprising to anyone. “You’ve got to remember, we talk all the time. ’09 was the first time we had them on our E3 stage, Spencer told Eurogamer at Gamescom. “They were on our stage this year. They were on our stage last year. We’ve worked with them for many years. So it’s not even like a conversation that’s new to us. We’ve got an ongoing relationship with Crystal around this franchise.”
Spencer also says that he didn’t want Rise of the Tomb Raider to be an Xbox exclusive out of spite for Sony, while also pointing out that deals like these happen in the industry all the time. “This whole thing that, like we just somehow found something that Sony fans love and said hey, if we just drop millions of dollars then they can’t go play the game, that’s not how it played out. I’ll just put it this way: other people could have done this deal. There was nothing about us that said, we were the only people would could do this deal. If another publisher, another platform wanted to go do this deal, it’s a business deal. There’s nothing we did somebody else could not have done,” Spencer said when asked to give more details about the Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusivity deal.
The head of Xbox touches on many more aspects of this controversy, but I don’t want to spoil too much so just go ahead and check out the full lengthy interview at the link provided if you’re interested. Suffice is to say that Microsoft saw a great opportunity here and jumped on it so can we really blame them? I’m sure that some people can, but this is just business as usual at the end of the day. In any case, the game is a timed exclusive so we hopefully we’ll see PS3, PS4, and PC versions at some point as well. Rise of the Tomb Raider will arrive Holiday 2015 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.