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Third-party exclusives not dead yet: New  Tomb Raider  only on Xbox
Third-party exclusives not dead yet: New Tomb Raider only on Xbox
August 12, 2014 | By Kris Graft

A deal meant to boost Xbox One’s appeal hasn’t gone over too well with fans of other consoles.

The company today announced at Gamescom in Germany that Crystal Dynamics' next Tomb Raider game, dubbed Rise of the Tomb Raider and published by Square Enix, will be “Exclusively on Xbox” in holiday 2015.

It’s unclear whether this means the game will be on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One. What is clear is Microsoft struck an exclusive deal with Square Enix, at least for a limited time.

Exclusive deals with third-party publishers are becoming a rarity these days among platform holders, but Microsoft has shown that it is still an option, even with major triple-A franchises. Laying claim to a new Tomb Raider game is meant to help give a shot in the arm to Xbox One, which has been trailing behind Sony’s PlayStation 4 in terms of hardware sales.

Players who don’t own Xbox platforms voiced their disdain on Crystal Dynamics’ forums. Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher quickly acknowledged consumer blowback, saying, “Today’s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming…We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft.”

The last Tomb Raider, simply titled Tomb Raider, was a slow burn for Square Enix. The game launched as a multiplatform game in 2013, and after meeting slow initial sales, managed to sell over 6.5 million units.

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George Menhal III
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I'm calling BS on this and predicting that Tomb Raider will be a timed exclusive. We will see a PC release in the future. Microsoft has a horrible history of releasing so-called "exclusive" titles that commonly appear in superior form on PC within a year or so of release. Perfect and most recent examples are Dead Rising 3 and Ryse.

Still not reason enough to buy an Xbox One, but they are getting closer.

David Landau
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I've had the same experience here, exclusive just seems to mean "exclusive for a period of time" in all cases I've seen where the 1st parties are involved.

Its hard to convince a developer to cut off a major portion of the market forever and assume risk for your hardware's market share.

Ian Morrison
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"Slow initial sales"? Tomb Raider sold 3 million copies during its initial release window and was still somehow labelled a disappointment... which is an indictment of either the cost of development, unreasonable expectations, or both.

John Paduch
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I hope that the fat check MS wrote is worth it, because the blowback from this is morphing into a shitstorm already.

If Sony had done this, I could at least understand the rationale, since the last Tomb Raider sold 2 or 3 times as many copies on Sony hardware. It still wouldn't smell good, but it would at least make some kind of sense.

Christian Nutt
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- The triple-A business sucks so much that publishers are now vulnerable to this kind of bribery
- The Xbox One is sucking so much that MS is now once again desperate enough to pay, as it did when establishing itself against Sony

Fun times.

Kyle Redd
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The sad part is this may actually work. For Microsoft anyway. It's not exactly hard data, but the XBox One is currently outselling the PS4 on Amazon's video game bestseller chart, for the first time since launch.

Dave Long
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I wouldn't assume that crazy SE executive decisions are a good indication for the AAA business more broadly. Don't forget SE considered the Tomb Raider reboot's initial sales a disappointment, despite them being the strongest for the IP. There are still plenty of AAA games being made by publishers who didn't get their executives from the loony bin ;).

Theresa Catalano
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The previous game was fairly bad in all regards. I can't be the only one thinking "no big loss," can I?

Matt Keast
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You are definitely not the only one. I have been a huge Tomb Raider fan from the beginning, and I was hugely disappointed with the reboot. It was the worst Tomb Raider game after Angel of Darkness.

The first Uncharted was a watered-down Tomb Raider. Then Uncharted got great with the second game, and so now Tomb Raider attempts to follow its success, by shoehorning a cover shooter into what is supposed to primarily be a platforming/puzzle/exploration game.

The Tomb Raider reboot was a watered down copy of Uncharted, which was originally a watered down copy of Tomb Raider.

I mean, there was almost no raiding of tombs in the game! Tomb Raider was known for epic-scale puzzles, and the reboot had these pathetic "tombs" that were 2-minute puzzles in a single room.

They basically took what Tomb Raider fans love and shoved it to the sideline and said "You guys go play over here for five minutes while the modern shooter-obsessed gamer plays the real game."

Kujel Selsuru
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If this can help give MS a chance at knocking sony out of the market that's fine, the old saying applies, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend".

Ron Dippold
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I'm guessing this one won't do 6.5M units then. Certainly not in the same timeframe.

Kujel Selsuru
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I'm sure the check MS cut them will more then cover that,

Ujn Hunter
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Guess I won't be playing the next Tomb Raider game... enjoy the money from MS while it lasts, I guess.

Harold Myles
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Their fans probably should be upset. There is no way this game will sell as well as the previous as long as its exclusive on XBOX. The check MS wrote will make that fine for Crystal Dynamics. But it means fewer fans will get the game.

MS wont get more hardware sales from this. This is just some bullet point checked off on some MS producers list of bullet points.

CD wont get more software sales from this. This is just money in the pocket.

Dave Long
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This is an insane decision by SE. They were upset by the sales of the reboot - SE's answer - to only release the next game on XB1 and forego PS4 and PC. Now, they _may_ receive compensation to cover the loss of revenue, but even if they do, they've gone and given the middle finger to between 50% and 75% (PC sales of TR are impossible to know) of the franchises fans. This is a good thing in growing a reboot IP nowhere. Before they even re-established the rebooted TR, they've gone and shot it in the foot. Sure, it'll do alright, but there's no way it'll do as well as it did, even if they reversed the decision overnight. It's like SE were taking lessons from Microsoft's initial XB1 marketing....