Rise of the Tomb Raider is timed exclusive

Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that the exclusivity deal of Rise of the Tomb Raider has a duration.

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As you may have rightly presumed when news hit yesterday that Rise of the Tomb Raider is an Xbox exclusive, it won't stay that way forever.

Xbox head Phil Spencer told Eurogamer that the exclusivity deal has a duration, since Microsoft didn't buy the franchise. He declined to go into details about how long that duration is, or how much Microsoft paid for the exclusivity period. He did stress several times that he wants to be open and transparent about the nature of the deal, but considers those kinds of details private. From his comments, it sounds like the holiday season is the window.

"I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One," he said. "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."

Check out our thoughts on the business move from Square Enix's perspective.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    August 13, 2014 8:10 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Rise of the Tomb Raider is timed exclusive.

    Xbox head Phil Spencer has confirmed that the exclusivity deal of Rise of the Tomb Raider has a duration.

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      August 13, 2014 8:13 AM

      Okay. That's cool. Plenty of other games to play until it hits PC and PS4.

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      August 13, 2014 8:14 AM

      They stepped back on that messaging amazingly quick. I wonder what drove this?

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        August 13, 2014 8:27 AM

        Maybe they didn't step back so much as fail to explain that the game was a timed exclusive. Yesterday's message contained ambiguous wording. I wouldn't be surprised if they felt backlash, though.

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          August 13, 2014 8:32 AM

          That's what I was wondering. That the wording was intentionally obfuscated is no surprise. Both the Xbox reveal and the press release from CD used the exact same phrase to describe the release criteria.

          I'm surprised that they decided to change the messaging within a single day, since they had an obvious PR phrase they were using.

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          August 13, 2014 8:39 AM

          This issue was the fucking message from crystal dynamics or whatever that was like hey guys don't worry the other tomb raider game is coming out for your platform! Made it sound like a exclusive exclusive. Not just timed.

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            August 13, 2014 9:22 AM

            Especially (and I know this is pedantic) given how the CD guy worded it.

            His phrasing, "As you may have seen, we’ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox." doesn't offer any other interpretation.

            Had he said "Rise of the Tomb Raider, exclusively on Xbox in Holiday 2015", that would be more ambiguous.

            But written like that, it says straight up that the game is exclusive on Xbox, and the commas merely separate the additional clause telling you when it's being released. That bit isn't unclear or suggesting that the exclusivity itself is referencing Holiday 2015.

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        August 13, 2014 8:50 AM

        Perhaps the fans' apoplectic rage.

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        August 13, 2014 10:01 AM

        CD went to MS and said "we need to tell them more about the terms of the deal, this is a PR disaster!" It's amazing to me that CD could have been so tone deaf to not realize what the reaction would be like.

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      August 13, 2014 8:16 AM

      Definitely waiting for PC then. All three (will be... Getting x1 next year) hooked to my TV, PC always has the best experience

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      August 13, 2014 8:42 AM

      These were my thoughts from the other thread:

      That interview can also be interpreted another way. Note that Spencer never says Rise of the Tomb Raider has a limited exclusivity. He keeps reiterating that they don't own the franchise.

      I get the reaction I see. 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.

      That could be read that Rise of the Tomb Raider is still only coming to Xbox, but the entire IP isn't exclusive and fans will still get games on all systems in the future. And then considering the letter from Crystal Dynamics saying other fans will still have the Lara Croft game, it all seems really weird. Both sides sound like they're trying to let the spurned fans down lightly and reassure them that it will all be alright, even if they don't get this game.

      I'm sure there's a lot of unnecessary company speak clouding things up on purpose, so we'll just have to wait and see how it hashes out.

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      August 13, 2014 8:46 AM

      Nice pic. Laura's been naughty, needs more spankin's!

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      August 13, 2014 9:08 AM

      Lol at the armchair analysts that said the verbiage was ambiguous and might be a real real exclusive

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        August 13, 2014 10:00 AM

        Read the actual Eurogamer interview. Any claim that this is a timed exclusive and will land on other platforms later is pure interpretation on their part.

        Spencer says that their exclusivity deal will end at some point, but from his phrasing, he could just as well mean that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be Xbox exclusive forever, and that future Tomb Raider games are free to be on other platforms.

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          August 13, 2014 10:11 AM

          "Xbox boss Phil Spencer has confirmed to Eurogamer that Microsoft's controversial exclusivity deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider "has a duration".

          He specifically mentions Rise of the Tomb Raider. Not just Tomb Raider as a franchise. Also this pretty much seals the deal if the first quote didn't already:

          "Spencer's comments confirm Square Enix, owner of Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, is free to do whatever it wants with the game and the franchise after the exclusivity deal ends, including releasing it on other platforms."

          Emphasis is mine.

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            August 13, 2014 10:18 AM

            You're quoting the Eurogamer writer, not Phil Spencer. Those are EG's statements. The second quote is interpretation on their part. The only words in your excerpts that are actually his are "has a duration". Nothing in what they actually quote him for says that SE is free to put the game on other platforms later.

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              August 13, 2014 10:32 AM

              If a deal has a duration, that means that both parties are free to do whatever after the deal expires.

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                August 13, 2014 10:43 AM

                And he's going to great length to say that their deal doesn't cover the franchise as a whole. Why would he do that if this was just a six-month thing?

                The exclusivity deal on Titfanfall also has a duration - that duration is Titanfall. EA is free to do whatever they want with Titanfall 2, but Titanfall 1 will never be on PlayStation.

                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.

                Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn't buy the IP in perpetuity.


                That's what he's saying.

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              August 13, 2014 10:42 AM

              I don't believe Eurogamer would outright say that Phil Spencer told them it was a timed exclusive and not be 100% sure that's what he said. I believe Eurogamer holds itself to a higher standard than posting a confirmation based on an interpretation.

              "Spencer's comments confirm Square Enix, owner of Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics, is free to do whatever it wants with the game and the franchise after the exclusivity deal ends, including releasing it on other platforms."

              That's a pretty hefty claim to make on an assumption and puts their reputation at risk if they are wrong.

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                August 13, 2014 10:45 AM

                They posted the whole conversation, did they not? At least that's what they're saying. And I don't see anywhere in the quotes from Spencer where he actually said what that paragraph states.

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                  August 13, 2014 1:35 PM

                  "I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. 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."

                  Is there a time limit on the exclusivity period?

                  "Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise."

                  The context is the Tomb Raider game shipping holiday 2015.

                  I just think Eurogamer wouldn't report it as confirmed if it was still sketchy.

                  But maybe it really is an Xbox exclusive and Eurogamer's credibility takes a hit. Stranger things have happened in this crazy industry.

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      August 13, 2014 9:15 AM

      Internet overreacted?? NO WAY!

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        August 13, 2014 10:08 AM

        IMHO the internet reacted perfectly. Do you enjoy when exclusivity deals happen with the games you are excited about? I'm glad CD and MS got slapped around, it will make things like this less common in the future.

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          August 13, 2014 10:36 AM

          MS and CD didn't change this from a permanent exclusive to a timed exclusive because they were "slapped around." The agreement was always a timed exclusive even if it wasn't clearly communicated as such. No public pressure caused a change here, just a clarification.

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            August 13, 2014 10:42 AM

            Yeah you done change deals like this overnight one way or another.

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              August 13, 2014 11:50 AM

              I would have agreed before the MS 180 last year. It was days and they had completely re-written their entire digital distrobution strategy.

              Still you are probably right in this case.

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            August 13, 2014 10:47 AM

            But there still isn't any clarification about Rise of the Tomb Raider. That's all Eurogamer's interpretation of the interview with Phil Spencer.

            If it was a timed exclusive, then this interview would have had him saying "There was some confusion with wording in the presentation yesterday. Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming out first on Xbox One during the 2015 holiday season." The fact that it's not explicity stated and just interpreted is what everyone is speculating about.

            I personally believe it will come out on PS4 after the exclusivity runs its course, but MS has done crazy things in the past so who knows!

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              August 13, 2014 2:44 PM

              But he doesn't *want* to say that, because it removes the entire point of a timed exclusive, which is to convince people they should be buying and playing the game on XBO.

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            August 13, 2014 2:47 PM

            I never said I thought the deal was changed. My suspicion (because of the weasel-words from the CEO of CD and the MS exec) is that the deal doesn't allow CD to talk about ever releasing other versions even though it is a timed deal. In fact I bet they are barred from saying it's a timed deal, which is why MS was the ones that said it, most likely due to pressure from CD over the bad press.

            And that's basically my point. I'm happy for the negative reaction because I don't think it's good for the industry for these walled-garden systems to fight each other by bribing studios to not discuss efforts for other platforms. There should be a public penalty for this kind of behavior so that studios think twice about taking these kinds of deals.

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          August 13, 2014 10:45 AM

          would you have reacted the same way if it was a PS4 exclusive?

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            August 13, 2014 12:11 PM

            Game is exclusive to platform of your choice and there is much rejoicing. Game comes out for a platform you don't own and it's a crime against humanity. Do I have that right?

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              August 13, 2014 12:14 PM

              unless you care about the industry at large (most people don't) you aren't going to complain when a game comes out on your platform. Why would you?

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                August 13, 2014 12:53 PM

                I'm just saying that the reaction is just a bit hypocritical.

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            August 13, 2014 2:53 PM

            I don't have a PS4 or XB1 and I don't really care about either platform yet. They both seem underwhelming to me. I liked Tomb Raider and I would hope that the sequel will eventually come out on PC and lots of other platforms so we can all enjoy it and talk about it here. I see deals like this one as a cancer on the industry and I'm happy to see people up in arms about it so that fewer deals like this will happen and they will be weaker.

            We've already seen an erosion of the meaning of "exclusive" for a number of reasons and it's a good trend for gamers and people who make games alike. And it frankly doesn't make much difference even to the console makers. They want to create competitive wedges through negative business techniques like this but instead they should focus on making their platform great.

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          August 13, 2014 10:49 AM

          Deals like this happened before and they will happen again.

          Also they showed the new TR game at MSFT's E3 conference but not at Sony's. So this has probably been in the works at least from that point in time but more likely beforehand. Also everyone presuming it would be multiplatform when it was announced before any real evidence of their plans. Even though it will ultimately be multiplatform, it still doesn't leave out the possibility of timed exclusive launch.

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            August 13, 2014 2:46 PM

            Given history, where they showed it doesn't mean much. Both companies have major multiplatform titles show at their E3 conferences, even when they're going to both (and PC, at times).

            Cases in point, MK X, GTA V, pretty much every Assassin's Creed game, Destiny, Far Cry 4, and so on.

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              August 13, 2014 3:05 PM

              I agree and noted that ultimately they are multiplatform based on history but that is where everyone made the presumption that leads to disappoint or surprise. But there was no evidence then to suggest this event was not going to be the case either back during the announcement. Also with the nature of how these things are decided or discussed, it's very likely that this deal has been in the works for a while so they knew something like this back before E3.

              So it should not come as a total surprise and people need to think about when things were known on their side of the business table before announcements are made. It's kin do surprising really that this info hadn't been leaked beforehand. Everyone just presumed the status quo beforehand.

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          August 13, 2014 12:10 PM

          If you think exclusives will be less common because of this you truly are delusional.

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            August 13, 2014 2:58 PM

            They are already much less common and a weaker version of "exclusivity" for a number of reasons. It's a nice trend and I hope it continues. If you are a game studio and you think you have a hit on your hands, it would be dumb to tie it to only one console for a one-time payment, never mind the anti-consumerism implicit in that approach.

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              August 13, 2014 3:23 PM

              Timed exclusives can bring in much needed cash and boost the profile of a game because the console makers might be willing to put more marketing money into it. Also, a good exclusive can help console sales as well. As I've said many times before, it's a mistake to think that Shackers and the like are the majority of the games market. Most people don't follow game new or give a shit. They see an ad on TV or in store and they buy.

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                August 13, 2014 6:35 PM

                So a guy who played TR on the PC or PS3 or PS4 and enjoyed it, he's going to go to the store and see that the sequel is Xbox only. What's his reaction? This hurts your "majority of the games market" way more than it hurts Shackers, who are more likely to own multiple console and understand the stupid nuances of these timed deals.

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                  August 13, 2014 8:43 PM

                  The clerk says the game will be out later on PS4 or PC and murderous rage does not ensue.

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            August 13, 2014 3:17 PM

            Also thanks for the passive-aggressive LOL. Classy as always.

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              August 13, 2014 3:21 PM

              Nothing passive about it. I think you are out to lunch on this.

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      August 13, 2014 9:18 AM

      Did people ignore all those statements from industry sources and journalists that were shared yesterday?

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        August 13, 2014 9:31 AM

        Nah I'm talking about the initial reaction to the announcement.

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      August 13, 2014 11:13 AM

      this is great news, i loved the last game

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      August 13, 2014 12:00 PM

      now, let's get uncharted on xbone so we can share the wealth.

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        August 13, 2014 1:31 PM

        Right after Mario Kart is available on Steam

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        August 13, 2014 3:59 PM

        Microsoft already has Sunset Overdrive, an exclusive being made by Insomniac, who formerly made Resistance, Ratchet & Clank, and Spyro video games, all of which were Sony exclusives.

        Was this some sort of strategy by Microsoft, to court a bunch of studios famous for Sony-exclusive franchises?

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          August 13, 2014 7:19 PM

          And who had the Destiny Beta first? It's silly and it's going to happen on both sides.

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      August 13, 2014 12:08 PM

      Who saw that coming?

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        August 13, 2014 12:10 PM

        Really anyone who read the article on the Shack yesterday should have. The last sentence of the CD response letter specifically said this doesn't rule out a Definitive Edition on other platforms in the future. I don't get why so many people thought it wasn't a timed exclusive.

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          August 13, 2014 12:12 PM

          Sorry, I was being sarcastic.

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            August 13, 2014 12:16 PM

            Damnit - I really need to get my sarcasm detector recalibrated.

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            August 13, 2014 3:18 PM

            Don't forget the sarcasm tags, man!

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          August 13, 2014 2:46 PM

          No, the last line of the CD letter yesterday was citing the existence of other titles, like TR1 Definitive edition, and the newer top-down TR game that comes later this year.

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      August 13, 2014 1:10 PM

      The original Bioshock was a 360/PC exclusive for about 14 months. Anyone know how the eventual PS3 version performed in comparison?

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      August 13, 2014 2:11 PM

      I'm OK with it, as long as they release Peggle 2 for PC :(

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      August 13, 2014 2:47 PM

      Rise of the Rise Riser: Ascension