Xbox’s Phil Spencer Talks Rise of the Tomb Raider Exclusivity

By Ishaan . August 18, 2014 . 5:55am

Speaking with Eurogamer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, recently discussed his thoughts on the deal with Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics that will result in Rise of the Tomb Raider being a timed exclusive for Xbox.


“Crystal has been investing in that game and Square has as well, in Tomb Raider as a franchise, and wanting to put it at the highest level, with the big triple-A franchises out there, but that’s expensive,” Spencer says.


“For us, as we’ve been working together on this, it’s a nice franchise for us in terms of the genre and how it fits into our first-party portfolio. Do I wish I had an owned IP first-party action adventure game? Absolutely. But I don’t right now. This is one that fits well and we had such a good working relationship with them.”


“And they want to build that game up to the same level as any of the huge triple-A games out there. It used to a big dominant game. Crystal has done a great job in rebuilding it since ’09, when they started kickstarting it, but continuing to invest at that level, it takes a partnership.”


Spencer also touches upon Microsoft’s relationship with Crystal Dynamics, who, you may recall, have appeared on stage during Microsoft’s E3 conferences in the past.


“You’ve got to remember, we talk all the time. ’09 was the first time we had them on our E3 stage,” Spencer points out. “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.”


“They’ve seen what we’ve done with certain games out there that aren’t ours. Ryse is another IP. I don’t own the Ryse IP, but I was able to invest with Crytek to turn it into a franchise, which isn’t easy to do for a studio on their own. I don’t own it. They just announced it for PC, and certain people throw stones at me and say, ‘you shouldn’t let it go out on PC.’ I’m like, look, I want Crytek to make money. I want Crytek to be successful. Why would I ever block them from doing something with a game they own?”


Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Kotaku U.K., Spencer also confirmed that Microsoft are investing money in the marketing and development of Rise of the Tomb Raider.


“We will clearly spend money on marketing the game, there’s no doubt about that,” Spencer said to the site. “And we do [that] on games where we have very little to do with development, and with games that we fully develop. And we will definitely be spending money on developing the game – I want to make sure that it’s as great as it can be.”


Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released on Xbox sometime during Holiday 2015.


Food for thought:

Judging by everything that’s been said, it sounds very much like Square want Tomb Raider to be able to compete with larger franchises, and that Microsoft are willing to help them do it, both in terms of development and marketing.


Keep in mind that game development can be incredibly expensive, and that 2013’s Tomb Raider initially didn’t perform to expectations. First-party marketing support can be incredibly valuable for a franchise such as this in the long run. Strong marketing is something that can be beneficial well beyond a game’s window of exclusivity, since it gets more people to take an interest in the title in question. Additionally, first-party support also helps take part of the financial burden off the shoulders of the developer and publisher.

Read more stories about & on Siliconera.

  • KingGunblader

    “First-party marketing support can be incredibly valuable for a franchise such as this in the long run”

    That’s true, but seeing as the first game didn’t (initially) sell well enough to meet projections, how is limiting the sequel to one console going to turn those fortunes around? Especially with all the Tomb Raider fans online who are irrationally pissed off about this.

    Also, do we really need this franchise? It’s been around since the 90s, and the reboot basically just made it an Uncharted clone with a fresh coat of paint.

    Anyway, can’t wait for Dawn of the Tomb Raider, which will probably be about the origin of Lara’s shorts or something.

  • at least its a Timed exclusive

  • $18114340

    There’s no way Microsoft couldn’t have known that there would be so much negative PR surrounding this, especially considering their track record with the XBO and its so-called “exclusives”. They’re not THAT dumb.

    At the same time I’m failing to see exactly what’s in it for Microsoft.They may want Tomb Raider to BECOME a hit franchise but the fact is that right now that’s something it is not — the series has traditionally been multiplat AAA, and restricting its audience, even temporarily, I just don’t get. What are Microsoft getting out of this that’s worth all the criticism and public outcry, and is it true that Square Enix wouldn’t have funded the game without Microsoft’s support? I’m kind of calling bullshit on that. Square Enix has enough money to put marketing clout behind stuff like Thief, which nobody really expected to do well. Why not Tomb Raider, which is undoubtedly larger, more influential, and more critically acclaimed?

    Furthermore, Spencer seems to continually be dodging the question and using weasel words to try and downplay the impact of this announcement. And yet the primary criticism is in how the exclusivity announcement was worded in order to make it seem like the deal wasn’t timed. Spencer tries to play dumb regarding Square Enix’s future plans for the game but it’s clear as day that they were aiming to make it seem as if the game’s primary target is Xbox from the start. Which it can’t be, because that would be incredibly backwards for Square Enix considering the last multiplat Tomb Raider “underperformed” (I use that term loosely), and restricting its initial audience to the Xbox One with its limited install base and squandered public goodwill can’t possibly help sales numbers.

    I’m not even mad, because who gives a shit about Tomb Raider; just really confused.

    • Square Enix has enough money to put marketing clout behind stuff like Thief

      The kind of marketing that a first-party console owner can provide is leagues ahead of anything most publishers can do on their own. What’s in it for Microsoft is that it will increase the number of people that buy Tomb Raider on Xbox. It’s a long-term investment. It’s really not that hard to understand.

      • KanjiLikesBoys

        **they think it will increase the number of Xboxes sold. If you can ONLY get this critically acclaimed game on Xbox then you’re just gonna have to buy an Xbox right? Unless…you kow…all the months of shitty PR and 180ing and turned you off to the console already.

        • You’re missing the point. Every single mainstream media publication and outlet has spent the last week saying the same thing: Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox. It doesn’t matter for how long. The fact is, it’s coming there first.

          That’s a big asset when you’re marketing your platform. It also sends a message to people that are debating between a PS4 and an Xbox One. It sends a message that Microsoft care enough to try and secure a wide variety of major games for their platform.

          • Eric Harris

            So they are marketing to dumb people who don’t really pay attention to the gaming industry. And don’t know the fact that Tomb Raider will be out in 6 months on PS4. In that case, it doesn’t matter what exclusives they have. To market to those people all you have to do is cut the price. To the people who pay attention to the industry, IE the most dedicated gamers. All it did was to sour them even more at Microsoft.

          • So they are marketing to dumb people who don’t really pay attention to the gaming industry. And don’t know the fact that Tomb Raider will be out in 6 months on PS4.

            You don’t know how long the exclusivity deal will last. No one does.

            To the people who pay attention to the industry, IE the most dedicated gamers. All it did was to sour them even more at Microsoft.

            You’re assuming that everyone has some sort of vendetta against Microsoft. That isn’t the case, outside of the usual forum-dwellers that can’t let go of grudges. Most people don’t take sides either way and buy the console that has the games they want. That’s how this business works, and that is the purpose of exclusives and timed exclusives.

          • Pyrotek85

            Yep, vast majority of gamers don’t visit gaming sites or forums, that’s who the marketing is directed at. We’re just a vocal minority, but it can be easy to forget that sometimes.

          • Fallen_Persona

            Honestly, they better hope it works, for Xbox One’s sake. Sales wise, it’s getting obliterated, and none of it’s other IPs have even somewhat been able to help that. So we’ll see how that whole thing goes.

          • Eric Harris

            Well I think this is a wasted endeavor on Microsoft’s part, it will not significantly impact console sales, and it’s just another PR nightmare for a company that can’t afford to keep having these PR nightmares. You assume I don’t know how business works. I do know that PR can significantly affect business. Is it going to negatively impact Xbox in some big way? Maybe not, but it’s not going to positively impact them either. And the whole reason they did this is that they need positive impact, this doesn’t help them. That’s why I call it a wasted endeavor.

          • Of course they’re marketing to people who don’t pay attention to the gaming industry. That’s an overwhelming majority of customers.

          • Nanashrew

            It shows they’re willing to spend money on denying content over creating content. It’s what they’ve always done.

      • $18114340

        How is it a “long-term investment” if in the long-term, the game is probably going to go multiplatform eventually anyway, and the property isn’t beholden to the Xbox anyway?

        Dead Rising was not a “long-term investment”. Gears of War was a “long-term investment”. Butchering Rare was a “long-term investment”. If anything, this will boost sales numbers for Square Enix short-term, but analysts point out that Tomb Raider is NOT a system-seller… so can the install base that Microsoft retains from this deal really outweigh the benefit of putting that money towards building a better console, better platform, better first-party games, and a better community?

        Tomb Raider isn’t like Dead Rising; it’s not a brand-new property that can’t find its footing yet. This deal benefits Square Enix greatly but I still don’t see how it benefits Microsoft enough to justify the bad PR, vocal internet minority opinions be damned. Considering Spencer admits as much as to say it’s to have something in the same season Uncharted 4 comes out, this move reeks of desperation on Microsoft’s part.

        • How is it a “long-term investment” if in the long-term, the game is probably going to go multiplatform eventually anyway, and the property isn’t beholden to the Xbox anyway?

          Just off the top of my head:

          1. More people will buy RotTR on Xbox One. This is obviously the immediate, short-term benefit. It will move consoles, and it will associate a major exclusive with Xbox.

          2. More people will buy the DLC for RotTR on Xbox One. This is more of a medium-term benefit. When DLC is released for Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game may not even be out on other platforms. Increasingly, DLC sales are where a good chunk of money is being made, since you aren’t shipping a physical product, and your profit margins are better.

          3. People that buy Rise on Xbox One will be inclined to buy the eventual Tomb Raider 3 (whenever that happens) on Xbox One as well. This is where we start to see traces of the long-term effects of this investment. Back in the PS1 days, Sony struck an exclusive marketing deal with Eidos to associate Tomb Raider strongly with their platform, which led to the perception that it was a “PlayStation game,” even though millions of people bought and played the series on PC over the years as well.

          4. It strengthens Microsoft’s relationship with Crystal Dynamics and Square, and opens up the possibility of future contracts between the two parties. This is one of those “maybe” situations, but forming such a strong working relationship with one of the biggest players in the industry isn’t a bad if you have the money to spare.

          5. Rise of the Tomb Raider will run well on Xbox One as a result of the exclusivity. Additionally, future Tomb Raider games will likely perform to the same standard as well, since Crystal Dynamics will be intimately familiar with the platform and will have an established audience for the series on the platform.

          • silverplat

            Microsoft might be also thinking Rise of Tomb Raider among Xbox One’s lineup for Holiday 2015 will be a positive point for any potential buyer, looking to buy a console around that time, to consider, versus what the direct competition, the PS4, will have.

          • HarakiriKami

            You forgot the fact that they have a game that can compete” with uncharted now in the form of Tomb Raider. I bet they bought this one because of the kerfluffle from the remastered edition running at basically half the framerate + worse visuals on xbox one compared to PS4

    • Eric Harris

      How ever many people are in charge marketing, PR and business decisions at xbox need to be fired. Their whole plan was to buy a timed exclusive, and be vague and play dumb. This was a horrendous endeavour that’s not going to benefit them in the slightest. It’s only pissing people off, it’s not inspiring them to buy xboxes for a timed exclusive game.

      Why should we be surprised though. The same people who planned the whole “TV TV TV Television TV” reveal, and planned forced DRM, and planned an underpowered $500 kinnect system are still working at microsoft.

    • What is the negative PR going to do? Stop non-xbox owners from buying the game?

      • $18114340

        No, but it’ll sure make browsing news sites harder to read. Zing!

  • AlteisenX

    I don’t see how this exclusivity will get them better profits than the other game which had multiple platform releases… Did M$ give them that much? This won’t “perform well” either when you limit and cut off your fanbase like this lol.

    • It’s going to be released for other platforms eventually.

      • Which is a relief to hear, but, there’s some people who can’t be won back after this whole fiasco, and that’s gonna hurt sales a bit.

        I’m not one of those people though. If I’m waiting nearly a decade for FFXV, I can wait for TR2.

        • Which is a relief to hear, but, there’s some people who can’t be won back after this whole fiasco, and that’s gonna hurt sales a bit.

          Sure, but I would argue that those people are the minority and don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

          People that want this game will buy it when it is released for their platform of choice. Ultimately, the point is that Microsoft are easing the financial burden on Crystal Dynamics, which is a big deal.

          • AlteisenX

            It definitely sucks because Microsoft has been doing this timed exclusivity notoriously since Call of Duty DLC (and now Sony is doing it too). It most certainly leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth, but long time fans will still buy it and enjoy it when they can. It just sucks that spoilers will be everywhere for those fans who can’t afford/don’t want to go to the One, but as you said… minority.

          • I can agree with that.

    • James Reilly

      This most likely cut costs for developing/marketing this game which should in theory yield better profits (note profits doesn’t mean more copies sold) since MS helped fund some of their expenses. The last game didn’t perform well to their expectations in regard of copies sold to secrure a decent profit so I guess Square doesn’t mind taking a deal with MS to try a different approach to improve profits with this game.

      It’s a timed exclusive anyway so it’s merely promoting the Xbox version much more then the playstation version. Not really cutting the fanbase.

      • AlteisenX

        I’m 100% fine with promoting games, but the gamer loses in this instance.

    • You make it sound like they press the PS4 button and it works perfectly on PS4. Developing for every platform costs money.

      • AlteisenX

        I mean let’s be real here, PS4 is a helluva lot easier to develop for than the PS3. The PS4 uses the same architecture as the Xbox One. I’m sure porting it over wouldn’t be as much a headache as it used to be.

        • HarakiriKami

          Yeah but it still takes time, and time is money

  • Namuro

    First comment I saw got deleted already, how about that? I guess all the explanation in the world won’t stop the hate…

    Besides, it’s a timed exclusive, isn’t it? Microsoft is sponsoring the development and the marketing, so it’s only fair that they get the game first. There are loads of games out there, just play something else, until the exclusive period is over.

  • AndyMAX

    Tomb Rider (2013) only did around 1.7 million on the 360 which have 80
    millions consoles on the market, seen how ¨good¨ the One is doing i see
    this move to be REAL stupid especially from Microsoft.

    • sunK1D

      The X360 also has thousands more games than the X1 does right now (and cheaper)…

      • ReMeDyIII

        I’d be curious to know how much money Microsoft had to pay to convince the Tombraider devs to pull the trigger on this. It would had to have been a huge amount to compensate for the loss of sales that will inevitably occur.

    • subsamuel01

      It is a timed exclusive so they can still make money on other platforms if they come out. The fact is how long the exclusive is, if its over a year people might just move on when it eventually does come to other platforms.

    • Altin

      Hell, Tomb Raider II sold more than that. And it is better, too.

  • Shadow Rebirth

    other than Microsoft being dick, I like Phil’s gut though and he is the president in Xbox division. He just spilled out the truth about Tomb Rider even though that would hurt Xbox’s sales. He also wasn’t being a selfish prick by stopping Crytek(Ryse) from coming to other platforms.

  • Reactions, totally understandable.

    If this was the first entry and an exclusive, people would give it more slack.
    But a follow up title to a multiplatform game being exclusive, not a smart move… :S

    • ShadowDivz

      Cough Bayonetta. Although that one makes sense.

      • $18114340

        Bayonetta is being funded by Nintendo. I doubt Square Enix don’t have the money to make the new Tomb Raider themselves, they just want Microsoft’s help promoting it.

        • HarakiriKami

          Except Microsoft is spending money on its development

      • silverplat

        Completely different situation.

        Rise of Tomb Raider was going to be released with or without Microsoft intervention.

        But there wasn’t going to be a Bayonetta 2 until Nintendo approached SEGA and Platinum Games to fund it.

    • silverplat

      The actual second entry in the series, Tomb Raider II, became a console exclusive due a deal made by Sony and EIDOS, even though it first debuted on Sega Saturn.

      So there is precedent.

      • HarakiriKami

        Sony wont get sega’d tho

  • Buster

    Phil is a pretty chill guy, huge respect for what he has done to Xbox ever since he took over.

    As for the Tomb Raider deal, I guess it’s alright with me since I plan on getting that White Sunset Overdrive bundle. Which will be my first MS console ever. I’m still a huge Sony fan since I have history with them from the PS1 era. Eitherway it’s pretty good time to be a gamer and that a multi-plat gamer since you get best of both worlds.

    • HarakiriKami

      You should play Phantom Dust and Crackdown. (and Halo)

      • Buster

        I’m super stoked for Halo MCC!

  • otakumike

    Meh, I’m not picking this game up anyway. If MS wants to “build the franchise” up on the one then they can go ahead. I simply won’t support SE with my money for this decision.

    Everyone should check out Boogie and Angry Joe’s videos so they can see why multiplats going exclusive is ultimately bad for the consumer.

    • HarakiriKami

      Good for the developer unless they want to go bankrupt. Making multiplats is expensive and time consuming

      I dont see what good it will do microsoft though if it goes on the PS4. Nobody’s gonna buy the Xbox One for a timed exclusive, but it leaves their schedule less barren.

      I guess they believe that marketing multiplatform games on their system will drive purchases in the mass market.

      Nevermind Ishaan detailed the potential reasoning for the exclusivity below

      • otakumike

        “I dont see what good it will do microsoft though if it goes on the PS4.”

        Ok, I’m only going to reply to you one more time. Square Enix couldn’t care less what good this does for MS. This is business and they’ve already taken their money. They will definitely go where the money is, and heading to the console that has sold 10 mil to consumers, they’d be foolish not to try and tap that market. Trust me, SE will put this out on ps4 eventually, Microsoft be damned.

        As Phil himself said, He didn’t buy Tomb Raider, He doesn’t own the IP. SE will do what’s best for SE.

        • HarakiriKami

          Depends on how much time it costs to port it and how many sales they get on the bone.

          Which has an install base of like 5 million. If it sells anywhere near as much as TR:Reboot did I dont think they’ll put it on PSr.

          Probably just PC

  • I think this quote is particularly interesting: “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.”

    A lot of the time, the relationships that people see on the outside aren’t indicative of what relationships are actually like on the “inside”. Sometimes, companies that you may not know have a good working relationship are actually rather close to one another, which is what leads to deals like these being established.

  • monkey king

    His ryse comment pretty much confirms this being a timed exclusive, we’ll see a pc release somewhere in 2016.

  • Slickyslacker

    Seems as though most folks are taking this to be a dick move by Microsoft, without being able to appreciate how bold a venture it is for them.

    If anything, MS are lucky to have snatched up an exclusivity deal for a title from one of the biggest sleeper franchises out there. While ostensibly unwise for SE to extend Tomb Raider outwards like this, the relative costs and future prospects must be rewarding enough.

    I think Spencer’s revealing of the game as a timed exclusive, immediately debunking the mystery of the exclusivity deal, is his most clever advance yet. He’s practically allowing all of the MS flamers to go home, and await the announcement of inevitable ports to other platforms.

    • Godmars

      This isn’t a bold venture for MS. Between such examples as Bioshock and and Mass Effect, it more business as usual. With the difference that its a sequel to what was a multiplatform title, as well as being announced being made, then becoming a timed exclusive.

      Its the same bad form towards fans of the series from Square. Who put overly high sales expectations on the first game, and are likely using it’s “failure” as excuse for this deal.

      This deal was done to benefit MS, and really only benefits MS. Will likely generate – some – XB1 sales, but not improve the quality of the game. Not any more than was a sequel it was going to be. When it does appear on other platforms – whenever that is – it will likely perform better with MS only able to say that they got it first.

      • Slickyslacker

        Why would Tomb Raider 2013’s lesser-than-expected performance be an excuse for this exclusivity deal? Trying to cut their losses with lower production costs initially, won’t turn much of a profit when they’re faced with the cost of upgrading the game to be ported.

        As you’re saying, this isn’t at all about moving consoles – a Tomb Raider game as a temporary exclusive to two platforms, is no justification to buy said platforms. I suppose you’re right in saying that it’s near impossible to see this deal as positive for Tomb Raider, and little more than a love letter to MS. It’s also something of a gift to long-abandoned 360 and starving XBone owners.

        • Godmars

          How 2013’s TR did is the exact reason why this is happening. Square put overestimations on its sales, advertised accordingly, then called 4 million sold a failure. Apparently are saying that its just broken even at 6 million sales.

          Now, for all the complaints or excuses of even higher production costs, given that there will be a 360 version, they’re likely re-using assets and tools from the first game. Not actually spending as much, just building new scenes and scenarios while tweaking general performance.

          And for that, they likely sold exclusivity for as little as advertising cost while compromising 2/3 of the game’s potential market. It makes no real sense, past giving MS the right to say “Only on Xbox” – when its only going to be or a limited time!

          Ugh. Sorry if this is rambling, but I’ve been tired of MS’s BS since before the 360.

    • Lightthrower

      What do you mean lucky? They just put enough money in the hat and voila, that’s not luck!

  • subsamuel01

    When I heard that this was a timed exclusive I was so bummed, had this game pre-ordered on PS4 too. It also gives me a good excuse to buy an Xbox One.

    • HarakiriKami

      You couldnt pre-order this game on PS4 though.

  • ShadowDivz

    It’s a timed exclusive so I’m good.
    But I don’t see the point in supporting a studio this much if the game is coming to other platforms. Development AND marketing?

    It’s almost…. Like somebody still cares about the games.

    • HarakiriKami

      No its just that microsoft has no games for that period so they needed games fast to put a bandaid on their release schedule.

      I dont know how much it helps because people will just wait for the game on the market leaders console.

  • Shippoyasha

    I hope people understand that funding and marketing takes a lot of money and it certainly doesn’t work around good will alone. We are talking millions of dollars, not throwing a few thousands around.

    It sucks about timed exclusivity if you own other systems, but there are times where Sony and Nintendo has bought entire companies or made ironclad exclusivity contracts which doesn’t even allow for exclusivity to be timed out.

    It’s okay for Microsoft to do this. If anything, they haven’t made a larger stable of exclusive games that they ought to do. They let 3rd parties loose even after funding and marketing their games a ton. Which makes me wonder if people may actually be more satisfied if they buy companies and make them 1st or 2nd party.

    • otakumike

      I think people would prefer it if MS used the money to build up new IP’s instead of using it to make what was previously a multiplat, an exclusive. That seems to be the general argument at least.

      Their first party offerings are…lacking, to say the least.

      • Tincho D

        “I think people would prefer it if MS used the money to build up new IP”

        Making multiplatform games exclusive doesn’t benefit the gamers. Console manufacturer funding would be better used on games that could not be made otherwise.

        • HarakiriKami

          They’re funding timed exclusives because they clearly cant manage that

      • Shippoyasha

        I can agree with that. Though Ninty is doing something similar with Bayonetta and the Xeno franchise and they are hailed as saviors while people pounce on MS.

        Maybe people underestimate the costs involved with development and marketing in general. MS must be offering enough money to make it worth their while.

        • KnightWalker

          “Though Ninty is doing something similar with Bayonetta and the Xeno franchise and they are hailed as saviors”

          I think you missed the point with using Bayonetta…considering that Bayonetta 2 wouldn’t exist without Nintendo funding it. It wasn’t like Platinum was going to make it and then it got scooped up by Nintendo for a limited time with a briefcase of money. It just wouldn’t happen. So there is a difference between the two situations For the Xeno franchise, I don’t know..

          • HarakiriKami

            The “Xeno” franchise doesnt exist.

            Its a title moniker that gets added to the names of games Tetsuya Takahashi makes

        • silverplat

          There is no comparable situation for those cases, Nintendo funded those games from the ground-up to became part of their consoles’ line-up. Meanwhile Microsoft intervened financially, at some point in time, amidst the development of Rise of the Tomb Raider to get a limited exclusivity.

          I’m not condemning or praising what MS did but it’s not comparable at all to either Bayonetta 2 or Xenoblade, even more the latter which is first-party.

          You could make a case for Microsoft with Call of Duty DLC, Hulk in Disney Infinity 2.0 or even No Man’s Sky for Sony, or for Nintendo, Monster Hunter could be somewhat comparable.

        • HarakiriKami

          Nintendo bought Monolith Soft in 2006. They’re a first party studio.

          Soooooo yeah… you’re really off base here mate.

          Bayonetta was a dead franchise before it even got the chace to live like Devil’s Third was going to be

          Hell,Takahashi-san was finally able to complete a game outright with Monado: Beginning of The New World since he received the amount of time,funding and development support, necessary to do so. Based Nintendo.

      • ronin4life

        Both Sony and MS have seen 1st party IP drops, from lack new IP to abandoning existing IP to even a devaluing of what is left, over the last gen and are choosing to cover themselves going forward with the same tactics: Buying exclusivity from 3rd parties big and small. Let’s not pretend Sony are building themselves up any different than MS in this current gen; they are very much following the same script here.

        Let’s also not pretend their overall dedicated 1st party IP and lineups are vastly different in overall numbers or quality either.

        • HarakiriKami

          all them exclusive indies yo

          • ronin4life

            Including one that was crowdfunded by consumers, many of whom may have wanted a different platform choice at launch before Sony came into the picture.

            Plus all the DLC, including free levels and permanent specials for Sony only players, major cooperatives like Destiny’s early Sony beta, and an overall mass marketing campaign involving many 3rd party Multi-plats on Sony commercials…

            It really isn’t any different than MS. They both are using nearly the same plan with only slight touches here and there. And ‘exclusivity’ of 3rd party partners or certain content, timed or permanent, is the name of the game. First party build-up is not.

        • otakumike

          While I did single out Microsoft here, I do believe timed exclusives in general are not good for the consumer. Regardless of which company is doing it.

          • HarakiriKami

            Are you beating down Sony’s door for all the timed and not timed, exclusive indie games they showed at Gamescom and E3?

          • otakumike

            And now baseless accusations.

          • M’iau M’iaut

            @HaraKiriKami:disqus Move on.

          • HarakiriKami

            Err, that’s a question man.

            A question that ask you to think of how you really feel about “timed exclusivity and all that”. Asking you to reorganize your thoughts into saying something that doesnt reek of hypocrisy.

            Unless you genuinely feel that ” timed exclusives” is a “bad thing” which is a silly concept.

            Imo it always felt like a useless thing or something that third parties did themselves because they couldnt port everything at once or had not intention to at the start.

    • $18114340

      Buying entire companies or making exclusivity contracts is different, because those sorts of deals imply that the games wouldn’t have been made otherwise (case in point, Bayonetta 2). With Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s clear that Square Enix doesn’t really need Microsoft for anything other than marketing — there’s no way they don’t have the money to develop a new Tomb Raider on their own, not after they just released the reboot last year and then a newer current-gen version, and the game has been ultimately successful.

      It isn’t OK for Microsoft to do this, at least from the standpoint that it’s good for Microsoft, because moneyhatting timed exclusivity is something they’ve been doing since the original Xbox, and I’m not seeing how much of a benefit that provides other than a short-term influx of games. The way Microsoft handles Xbox, they seem to pay attention to it only sporadically and only within the short-term in terms of risk and investment. The Xbox One looked like it was going to be different but obviously that backfired, and now Microsoft are back to their old ways. It just seems really short-sighted to me.

      • With Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s clear that Square Enix doesn’t really need Microsoft for anything other than marketing — there’s no way they don’t have the money to develop a new Tomb Raider on their own, not after they just released the reboot last year and then a newer current-gen version, and the game has been ultimately successful.

        I’m not sure how you can say this when Square Enix themselves have voiced their concern over how the previous Tomb Raider performed. It sold a lot of copies, yes, but it didn’t sell all those copies at full price, and neither did it sell them as quickly as Square would have liked.

        A large company like Square is expected to make a certain amount of earnings every quarter. Not only is it important that their games sell well, it’s also important that they sell well quickly, or that they make a suitable return-on-investment quickly.

        Microsoft’s development and marketing support is helping with this because they’re taking the financial burden off Square by sharing the cost of development. That mitigates a lot of the risk associated with a big-budget game like this.

        • Rad Phil

          Microsoft’s development and marketing support is helping with this because they’re taking the financial burden off Square by sharing the cost of development.

          Maybe if companies would stop overbloating their budgets, they wouldn’t need this stuff going on. ESPECIALLY in the marketing area.

          They have so many hands in the boiling pot, thinking that every contribution is going to have a greater output, when in reality they’re getting the same results, and expect more out of the consumers.

          It really baffles me how bloated spending wise the gaming industry has gotten, especially when you see smaller titles completely exceed the expectations.

          • HarakiriKami

            Maybe if gamers didnt have such unreasonable demands an expectations they could do such a thing.

            Oh wait, they are. Hope you like fun free to play mobile and PC games.

            Enjoy that gaming service future

          • Rick R

            Tomb Raider had a 100 million dollar budget, Uncharted 2 had a 20 million dollar budget. Inefficiency is absolutely a huge issue at CD.

          • Rad Phil

            No one asked for them to spend millions more on marketing and funding. Not consumer’s faults that they can’t manage money, nor should the cost of development which is no where even close to consumer hands should they be put in this blame guilt.

            The way how games sold today vs in the past is still the same amount, but now 4 million sales for games are “not enough”. It’s that greed train they want to catch.

      • Shippoyasha

        I am saying that people may have been less up in arms if they bought Eidos way back when and not get a contract now when TR was in other systems as well. Either way, it’s still a timed exclusivity so they aren’t even holding onto the franchise for good.

  • seyEliveD

    I will not be buying the game at any point simply because I do not support such tactics.

    • Skode

      So when they did over the likes of Sega back in the day by buying exclusive rights to the series over at Sony it was ok? This series is not new to this, only difference is this time its only timed exclusive.

    • HarakiriKami

      Tough shit man

      Skipping all the PS4’s timed indie exclusives as well?

      • Sav


        i’m sure he’d support it if sony made the deal.


  • Dave Cain

    I don’t hate Microsoft. Phil Spencer is doing all he can to help the Xbox brand succeed and that’s admirable. However, I am mad at SE for being so stupid! Tomb Raider sell so much better on Playstation and by the time Rise of the Tomb Raider is released, the PS4 will probably have 17-20 million consoles sold.

    • Skode

      Even better… when its released on PS4 it will be available to even more people as more will have the console, just a little later than the fans on it would have liked.

      The tone of this article is simple… they needed funds to bring the level of AAA game they wanted. Square Enix were vocally critical of the costs of the Tomb Raider reboot and western marketing costs… despite the fact it sold millions, i guess this means they needed as said “a partner” to help the funding and Microsoft seemed only too happy to help. The tone from the Crystal Dynamics press release also showed how happy they were with the deal.

      This game is gonna be awesome and PS4 fans will benefit just as much as Xbox One fans with the game when they get a title which had a much expanded budget purely because it was part funded by Microsoft and all for what… timed exclusivity? No one loses as far as i can see.

    • triablos

      They’re not stupid. All it is, is a timed exclusive. In the end, everyone gets the game. People who want to play tomb raider on PlayStation will either wait, or buy an Xbox. People who have an Xbox will get it. Microsoft gets their own timed exclusive at the cost of some money. But most of all, Square Enix earns extra money from the exclusivity AND develelopment costs (which will make the game better for EVERYONE not just xbox) and basically they lose NOTHING in the long run. So it was pretty smart on Square’s part.

      Square fans hate square regardless anyway so yeah

    • Dave Cain

      Wat’s awesome about this though is Sony parity policy. Since PS44 get it later there will be exclusive extra content and probably something worth noting too.

  • Anthony Birken

    Didn’t the previous Tomb Raider reach expectations over time? Initially it wasn’t great, but I’m pretty sure sales got there at some point (within a year I think).

    • HarakiriKami

      Right after the definitive edition was released

  • HarakiriKami

    He’s right

  • HarakiriKami

    Im betting this will only be on the 360,Bone and PC.

  • Göran Isacson

    Kind of curious what the whole part about Ryse had to do with their Tomb Raider decision, but eh.

    So. I suppose that what they mean here by “investing on that level, that requires a partnership” means that Square Enix, who I presume formerly supported them in that way, are backing out and leaving the funding to Microsoft. MS gives CD the money SE won’t, in exchange for timed exclusivity. And they agree to this deal because without enough money to fill Scrooge’s moneybin the game will A- not be made according to their standards or B- actually literally not be made at all because you just NEED that kind of money to make a AAA game these days.

    But I wonder- won’t this Tomb Raider simply meet the same fate as the last one? It looks like the budget will be once again be so grotesquely large that they won’t make back the money in sales until it’s released for all platforms. But whereas SE cut their losses and ran, Microsoft are simply going to accept the situation? Why? Or do they believe that they CAN make their money back? What will then happen if this doesn’t happen? Are Microsoft simply not expecting as much from the game and giving it a more reasonable budget, or will they pour as much money in as SE did except now they expect the deal to be profitable, despite a move that seems like it’s PR poison?

    I guess that my foremost beef here is the ridiculous budgets in the first place. Partially because Tomb Raider wasn’t my cup of tea- I never felt like this was a game with a budget larger than some nations GDP, and I guess I hoped that if a sequel was greenlit they would be able to budget it smarter. All I see when I look at this is a metaphorical Tower of Babylon, just waiting to be struck down and crumble into hundreds of lost jobs and losses that won’t be regained. And I won’t even know if some slight frugality and calm thinking could have saved it, or if the world of AAA games have just gone so mental that moves like these are the only way forward. Man do I ever hope Ninja Theory aren’t just blowing smoke with their plans…

    • PoweredByHentai

      It sounded more like SE was hurting for money and Microsoft was hurting for something to throw against Uncharted 4.

      The reason has to do with SE consistently having absurd sales expectations and reeling in shock when reality hit them.

      The only reason they are afloat now is because FF14 Realm Reborn saved their bacon.

      Also, I think you meant Tower of Babel.

      • Göran Isacson

        Tower of Babel was the right one indeed, thanks for the assist. So it may simply be the case that Microsoft WILL invest the money CD needs to make the game, but they simply have better accountants who don’t make up pie in the sky sales numbers and who will give the game a much more sensible budget than SE did? I guess that could make sense. Hope they’ve learned their lessons from Tomb Raider and 14, though… and that we won’t see them balloon up their sales expectations anytime soon.

        • PoweredByHentai

          SE’s problems run deeper than that. Just the other day on the OT, we were talking about several pretty high profile developers who have already left SE. The guy who made the Luminous Engine (previously made the Sonic engine) has already left SE earlier this year.

          I believe his name is HASHIMOTO Yoshihisa and he held the CTO position at SE.

          While other developers have also left SE, I think the Chief Technology Officer leaving the company without a replacement is a bad position to be in.

          • Göran Isacson

            True, leaving without the company producing a replacement doesn’t sound too good. But I dunno if I’d call gloom and doom for that alone- as others in that thread points out, it may simply be that he finished developing the engine and wanted to move on.

            But such a high profile person leaving without Square even acknowledging it combined with SE handling money like an alcoholic handles shots? THAT has me worried.

  • Symbol de Au

    People are such babies. It seems like it’s a timed exclusive but even if it was purely exclusive it’d be the same. If you don’t want the console you don’t want the game. Microsoft aren’t wrong for trying to get more sales and Square aren’t wrong for making a deal.

  • Arz

    Am I the only who thinks it’s really dumb to officially state that it’s a timed exclusive. And for only a year for that matter

    • CozyAndWarm

      With Sony/Microsoft I just treat every new “exclusive” as timed, I guess it’s so obvious that they just state it outright now

  • PoweredByHentai

    Meanwhile, in a separate interview with Kotaku U.K., Spencer also confirmed that Microsoft are investing money in the marketing and development of Rise of the Tomb Raider.

    I’m really not fond of organizations that just provide money and take a completely laissez faire approach to a partnership. It typically means that the investor does not care or does not bother to have an active engagement with its partner. In some cases, they even expect to gain full benefits of the agreement like expecting a full technology transfer for something they have zero institutional knowledge/memory of.

    In such situations, if anything happens to the agreement, there is a complete loss of expertise on the investor’s side. I don’t see these types of agreements as being beneficial in the long run.

    If anything, I would like to know if there is even a Microsoft studio assigned to help with the development. Hell, even assigning Rare to this would have been much better PR since this genre of games is what Rare used to do before it was ultimately neutered.

  • Thrasher429

    It didn’t do as well as expected because Square Enix had ridiculous expectations with their sales forecasts. The fact that their press release for that mentioned that they factored Metacritic reviews tells a lot.

  • mikanko

    Kinda too bad this is taking center stage when it comes to discussion about the game.

    I’m much more interested in knowing whether or not they plan to actually bring back the exploration and puzzle solving elements that many fans of the original series felt the last Tomb Raider was sorely lacking.

    • Codename: D.A.V.I.D.

      I doubt it, they probably don’t want to deviate from the path that made Tomb Raider (2013) a hit. They found themselves a new audience.

      And at this point I even doubt Crystal Dynamics is apt to create a game in the vein of previous Tomb Raider, the closest we got was Anniversary, and frankly that was just because all the groundwork was already laid by Core Design; the Lara Croft series is at least puzzle-based but it is totally a different beast.

      • Göran Isacson

        Alas, you probably have a point there. I too felt like the original Tomb Raider wasn’t that engaging, mostly because it felt like it just turned into a shooter the further I got into it, and the Uncharted style of shooting isn’t really my bad? But as you say- they obviously found an audience with it so I guess losing the puzzle-fanatics money isn’t much skin off their backs.

  • Aristides

    So in other words SE is using MS as a ladder to build up the game until they eventually release the perfected version on Playstation. Very nice :3

  • Firekitty

    I’d be okay with this if SE’s LAST ‘timed exclusive’ had ever actually come out on the PS3…

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