Rise Of The Tomb Raider Isn't Really An 'Xbox Exclusive'

Rise of the Tomb Raider Isn't Really An 'Xbox Exclusive'

Yesterday, Microsoft dropped the first bomb of Gamescom 2014: that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be an Xbox exclusive. Except, wait. It's not.

Turns out this was yet another a case of shady corporate double-speak, and this is actually a timed exclusive. "Yes, the deal has a duration," Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer. "I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise."

In other words, when they said yesterday that the next big Tomb Raider game is an Xbox exclusive, what they really meant is that it will be out first on Xbox (both 360 and One), and then it will come later to other platforms.

Spencer wouldn't elaborate on how big of a window he paid for. "There are certain things I'm just not going to talk about because it's a business deal between us and then. Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn't buy the IP in perpetuity."

Compare this to the language used by developer Crystal Dynamics yesterday:

As you may have seen, we've just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox.

Or what Microsoft said in their own press release:

Led by the announcement that "Rise of the TombRaider" from Crystal Dynamics will launch in holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox...

So again, remember: in gaming, the word "exclusive" never actually means "exclusive."

Good work, guys — you infuriated a ton of fans for no reason at all.


    Well actually they infuriated a bunch of ps4 fans to uphold their deal with Microsoft which is hopefully going to be lucrative for both parties.

      But didn't people jump to some outrageous comments, like how the developer will go under. I really doubted that a game like Tomb Raider would be an exclusive for XBONE, with the fan base it has on both systems.

      You mean people were annoyed for some reason that a formerly multiplatform game looked like it was now going to be Xbox exclusive? No way.

      It's not like the series had been multiplatform for 15 years, or that PC players were annoyed too, or that Square Enix looked like they were excluding the majority of the current gen console base, or that their last title sold by far in the majority on Sony platforms.

      Oh wait.

      I sure hope Microsoft paid SE enough money to make it worth potentially alienating the largest segment of the current gen audience. Though, given it's gamers we're talking about here, everyone shouting boycott will probably still buy it once it eventually releases.

      For what it's worth, I'm getting it on PC eventually, so I'm not a Sony fanboy or some such.

      Last edited 14/08/14 8:25 am

        No, their pr speak clearly said "timed exclusive" if you can read between the lines. It's not that complicated.

          I'd agree that yes, it did ambiguously suggest a timed exclusive. Not arguing that point. That's why I said "looked like". The problem is more so they created the perception of it being an exclusive. You could say the problem was people being too stupid/blinded by rage to read between the lines, but Microsoft should have seen it was always going to generate some friction by using the words "exclusively" (however vaguely) around a 15-year multiplatform franchise.

          I'm not denying that Sony don't do timed/full exclusives as well, but Microsoft do have something of a history of just throwing capital around to lock out the competition.

          The problem is also that RotR was also at least vaguely suggested as being multiplatform on launch as recently as E3. You could preorder it on Steam not that long ago! If it had been announced from the start, there'd still be some annoyed consumers, but the negative PR would have likely been far less.

          Last edited 14/08/14 9:16 am

            Thats the point of PR speak! To fool people that can't/don't read between the lines. It worked according to the amount of outrage I saw yesterday.

            In the end, I really don't see the point in MS wasting this money. Just for a rival for Uncharted 4? I'd much rather that money go towards buying a small studio and then further investment in that studio to make some games they can release on x1 and pc. Even 360 if they feel so inclined. Oh well.

              Haha, trust me, I'm well aware of PR speak! :p
              It's my degree and job, which is why it somewhat frustrates me to see it used so ambiguously. Good PR should strive to be as simple and direct as possible.

              I'll definitely agree with you re: wasted money. As much as I love Tomb Raider, it's not a console seller like it used to be. I would have much preferred to see Microsoft put this money into developing a great new first party game, or actively funding another proper third party exclusive like Sunset Overdrive. Or like your suggestion, investing in a new studio.

                What Microsoft needs is a new Bungie. Halo moved oodles and oodles of systems. Peoples perceptions are synonymous of Halo with Bungie. Same as Naughty Dog for Sony.

                  Aww! Sony have lots of good first party developers such as Media Molecule and Sucker Punch. That little lovable hunk of fabric Sackboy is an adorable mascot!

              You are completely correct that the point of PR speak is to fool people who don't read between the lines.

              And they absolutely should reap the consequences of that. Because at some point, it doesn't matter how artful and poetic an allegory, "Your Mum's a whore," might be if read between the lines in the appropriate context, on the surface you just insulted someone's mother and you should take your well-deserved thrashing as an opportunity to reflect on the appropriate usage of words.

              "You just don't get it, I obviously meant something I didn't say," is a pretty unacceptable excuse for avoiding fallout.

                We all knew it could possibly be timed exclusive and were hoping it was true, doesn't excuse the fact that it wasn't as simple as reading between lines and it's extremely easy for everyone to say "Ah I knew it" After the fact.

                The fact the Phil weighed in shows Crystal Dynamic went in to panic mode and most likely requested to reveal the timed nature of the exclusive and MS agreed since an intended marketing ploy was actually backfiring on them also.

                And to be honest, the open letter from CD didn't imply much toward a timed exclusive at all, going as far to give PS and PC a consolation prize. If they had just said "We haven't forgotten our PS and PC fans, that would be a good indication of a timed exclsuive. Instead they said "We haven't forgotten our PS and PC fans, Temple of Osiris will release in Dec and you can buy TR Remasted for the PS4"
                It may not have excluded it thank good but it was def avoided with purpose and the spin they put on it is what annoyed people the most.

        I'm not arguing against any of the points you raised, solely Jason's final comment that they pissed off tons of fans for no reason at all.

        There was a reason.

          Yeah. Just not a very GOOD reason. Lazy and tone-deaf. They just seem to love saying, "Exclusive to X-Box," so much that they say it at every available opportunity, as if somehow the very act gave an angel their wings or the CEO a hard-on, even when it could very easily, very understandably be misinterpreted to mean, well... exclusive to xbox.

          There's a difference between 'exclusive to xbox' and 'exclusive to xbox*'.
          (*for a limited time)
          Now, you and I know the difference between the two, similar to how we know there's no such thing as 'free', only 'free*'.

          It IS intentional - the whole point of PR speak is to manipulate thought with your choice of words. But it was intentional in the way that they intended for it to add value to the xbone brand. The question is how much value. They obviously think it's ALL good. ("Value is good, right?") Other non-xbone people... not so much. ("Yeah, value for you is good until it comes at a cost to US.")

          Last edited 14/08/14 9:56 am

      PC too! I played the original on PC =P


        Tomb Raider Gold/Unfinished Business with the extra Egypt and Altlantis level. Yep, the good ol' PC days.

      I suspect it'll be a fair bit less lucrative for MS now that this has been confirmed. The point of an exclusive is to give people a reason to buy your console. Yesterday it was being looked at as a way for them to make people choose between Tomb Raider or Uncharted 4. Now, with this clarification, it's a choice between Tomb Raider or Uncharted 4 AND Tomb Raider.

      Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, however, will be laughing all the way to the bank.

        Hopefully, what will end up happening is that we'll all have finished Uncharted 4 single player, invested time in its multiplayer and Rise of TR will be $30 at JB.

    Well this is good news. Hopefully if it comes out 6+ months after for PC and PS4 they don't expect us to pay full retail for it.

      Will probably be released as a complete pack with DLC for full retail price.

    Thank goodness. Otherwise it's a total up yours to PS4 owners and Sony.

    I hope all of those who badly overreacted feel very embarrassed

    I also hope that MC and Crystal Dynamics are ashamed of themselves for intentionally misleading the public, especially CD, as its their own fans and customer base that they just so effectively insulted

    Whoever in marketing came up with, and approved, that press release needs to go back to school and relearn that customer loyalty is one of their biggest assets

      You know I'm not embarrased about my comments yesterday.

      Yeah I'm a PS4 owner who was pissed out about this but I'm also a PC player who was pissed off about this...An existing IP that has been a multiplatform title since day dot was made "exclusive" (according to the annoucements yesterday) for Xbone/360

      You that CD saying one thing and MS saying another....which one is right???

        It wasn't hard to see the "timed exclusive" inside their msg yesterday.

          REALLY depends on how much of the statement you saw. If your main source of news is lazy journalists who quoted, y'know... words, instead of context, then yeah. It'd be a lot harder to see something you can't see on account of it not being where you're reading. (Because who in their right mind reads press releases linked to by aggregator articles?)

          Edit: Prime example: The quotes highlighted in the above article. You might take it from experience to mean that the author of the text doesn't know how english works, but anyone who knows how english works knows that the information about the date relates purely to the release and has no bearing on the exclusivity, which is a separate point.

          Let's break it down:

          As you may have seen, we’ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox.

          Can you kids all identify the purpose of the commas in the second half of the sentence? It's to separate a thought. Which object is the subject of the sentence? Is it 'Rise of the Tomb Raider', or 'Exclusively on Xbox'? English says: 'Rise of the Tomb Raider'.

          That quote on its own, read by anyone who takes the English structure as, y'know... fucking English, learns:
          Rise of the Tomb Raider has been announced.
          Rise of the Tomb Raider is coming Holiday 2015.
          Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusive on Xbox.

          If those aren't the facts you intend to deliver, then maybe you should deliver them in a different way. If that's the IMPRESSION you wanted to leave, even if they don't bear resemblance to the facts, then you should wear the consequences of of the impression you delivered, and the consequences of saying something that doesn't bear resemblance to the facts.

          Last edited 14/08/14 9:41 am

            Or to add a few words to make it a little clearer.
            The Rise of the Tomb Raider game we are releasing during the holiday season will be exclusive to XBox. The Rise of the Tomb Raider game that we are releasing after the holiday season will be cross platform.

              Fair call. Hell, even if you cater to the unique speech disorder/mental disability that PR reps suffer where they're pathologically incapable of acknowledging the existence of competitors or other factors that don't directly talk-up their brand, you could re-word to say that 'the 2015 launch' of this title be a platform exclusive.

              That way, the subject of the sentence is the launch, not the title. It still leaves things annoyingly vague, but makes that space in between the lines a lot more obvious. It's a lot more nudge-nudge-wink-wink, draw-your-own-conclusions. As it is, saying that the title itself is exclusive is an outright lie, even if it's temporarily true. Crossing platforms doesn't make the title a different title. That'd be like me claiming I'm immortal because I haven't died yet.

              Or they could just forget about being cryptic dicks altogether and be happy with the fact that it's a timed exclusive and just fucking call it that, instead of trying to be all: "I drive a porsche!*"
              *that I rented for today.
              The disappointment factor outweighs the impressiveness, they're clearly not very good at this shit.

              Communication is always, always, always about context and for video games it's heavily influenced by an enthusiastic outrage culture of pedantic nerds. It baffles me that since the xbone launch they still haven't twigged. (Edit: Or they have twigged, and they still adhere to that ridiculous 'all publicity is good publicity' theory.)

              Last edited 14/08/14 11:41 am

                claiming I'm immortal because I haven't died yet
                Lisa, I want to buy your tiger-repelling rock

            "As you may have seen, we've just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider is exclusively on Xbox for Holiday 2015."

            Hire me, Microsoft?

        You know I'm not embarrased about my comments yesterday.
        I had a look at your comments and dont see a bad overreaction that I pointed out should be an embarrassment

        You that CD saying one thing and MS saying another....which one is right???

        I am saying that MS and CD both said the same thing, and both were wrong to do so, CD was more wrong as it was their own customers that they risked damaging their relationship with

          It's ok @wizz-fizz, I wasn't having a go at you. I agree that people who pretty much jumped off the cliff yesterday on this issue should be embarrased (maybe I should have stated that in my first post)

          I have to agree with you with CD being more in the wrong because they were the ones that came out with their statement being very grey (coming holiday 2015 exclusive on xbox) and pretty much backhanding their PS4 and PC fans (with..."well you guys have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming out this December and The Definitive Edition is available on PS4")

    I knew it, all you gotta do is read between the lines.

    Obviously Squeenix were very unhappy about all the upset fans, and made Microsoft explain themselves.

    All this "timed exlcusive" and console specific exlcusive extras shit has to stop. It's beyond a joke. I'll buy your console because I like its features, controller and gaming franchises, NOT because I get say extra missions in Assassin's Creed.

    Last edited 14/08/14 8:41 am

      Or a years exclusive Destiny content. That's insane.

        But at least Destiny is being released on both consoles on the same date

      Personally, I find retailer exclusive stuff even more offensive than platform exclusive stuff.

      It wasn't even about reading between the lines. It was just common sense.

        No. Reading the statement as indication of absolute exclusivity is perfectly reasonable. It did seem illogical, but remember this is the company that thought mandatory Kinnect, always online, totalitarian DRM, used game restrictions and the name "Xbox One" were all good ideas. It's not too hard to imagine them throwing buckets of cash to get exclusive rights to a struggling 2nd-tier IP.

          except it isnt all up to microsoft and SE are the company who bailed on exlsuivity with Sony for their long standing exclusive franchise for FFXIII, so yeah it was likely

    The exclusivity deal might not have been 100% real, but the nerdy tantrums and boycotts were.

    I'm not a Tomb Raider fan myself - I liked the new game well enough, but don't have any strong feelings towards the franchise one way or the other. But I can see how folks who've loved the franchise from day one might be a bit miffed. The franchise did start out as a Playstation exclusive.

    From Square Enix's point of view, I can't really see the point. Unless M$ has offered them megabucks. The original game was deemed a launch failure, but lived a second life after it was released on all platforms. Didn't it go onto being one of their highest grossing games of the last gen?

    And now they're making this one an exclusive with the console with the smallest userbase of any next-gen console? It's almost like they want to get people angry and talking about it...

      Wasn't it released on all platforms that were available at the time (360/ps3/pc)? I know it just went into SEs version of profitable just before the definitive edition on ps4 and x1...

        There was also the whole range of GOTY editions released before the Definitive Editions.

        EDIT: Plus all of the ability boosting DLC.

        Last edited 14/08/14 8:59 am

      The franchise didn't start out as a PlayStation exclusive - the original in 1996 was also released on Sega Saturn and DOS simultaneously. However the Saturn sold a fraction of the units compared with PSX and the Saturn version was also technically inferior, so everyone just remembers playing it on PSX and it was one of the games attributed to that system's success.

      The next two games, however, were only released on PlayStation and Windows.

      Last edited 14/08/14 10:12 am

    i'm glad they decided to troll everyone, why get so fired up about a mediocre action-adventure game anyway?

    If it is a 6+ month delay then I hope some prick releases the PC code as a torrent early cause that huge window pisses me, (a massive TR fan since day dot) off having to wait till 2016.
    I will play it as soon as it is available by whatever means. Don't worry I will be buying a PC collectors edition release day but if their is a convenient way to play it sooner I will just like say Game of Thrones ;-)
    If the game is a bad joke/pile of crap then I will buy a used copy like Angel of Darkness...

    Actually, the statement by Microsoft is correct. It will "Launch" exclusively on Xbox. It will then be "released" on other platforms. Crystal Dynamics, however, lied...

      But when Sony says AC5 will have content exclusively on Playstation, or that Disney Infinity's Hulk is exclusive to Playstation, without immediately following with the disclaimer that it's a timed exclusive, Kotaku doesn't publish an article about it being "shady corporate double speak"

        Big difference between some minor DLC and an entire franchise.

          I suppose Hulk is just a minor part of the Avengers.

            No but The Avengers are a minor part of Disney Infinity. He's one character among squillions!

              Tell my 7 year old die-hard-Hulk-fan son that ...

                If you really loved your child you'd buy them a PlayStation ;)

                  Sure, I'll get 'him' one for his birthday *shifty eyes*

      Came on to say the same thing. There's nothing wrong at all with that MS statement.

      The weird thing is that MS have far more to gain than Crystal Dynamics when wording their own press release.
      Crystal Dynamics just annoyed a large chunk of their fanbase by implying that they were going MS exclusive, the fact that they completely overstated their own exclusivity makes very little sense.

    I'm fine with this. I'm usually patient with waiting for games so 6 month delay wouldn't bother me at all.

    I knew it wasn't "exclusive" in that regard, it is still fucking dumb.

    i think the next uncharted will be coming around the same time as this tomb raider. so it is good for tombe raider to not compete with uncharted since i think most people would buy that instead. and they can bring the game to ps4 couple of months later when people have had enough of uncharted.

    I am shocked

    Not even a little

    I am deeply in love with the reboot Lara Croft. That is all.

    It's hard to get wording just right. Remember marketing/business people create this press announcements and trailers. They don't always understand how gamers will react. Not to mention that technically Xbox is exclusively getting the game over the holiday period, with other consoles getting it later so what they have written is correct.

    Also the PS4 people just like to complain, even if the message had come across clearly, they would have complain over the fact that the xbox gets the game first.

    After all it's still "cool" to hate on Microsoft.

      If by "cool" you mean "totally justified".

      Couldn't they just added a tiny note somewhere saying "and coming to other systems X"? They must have known this would cause confusion and yet they did it nonetheless.

    Eh. This is better.

    Still a misleading statement. If it wasn't, they wouldn't have had to clear the air with eurogamer last night.

    There's PR speak, like sony (and normally Ms) where they state, mildly, that it's timed. And then there's deliberately making out that it isn't timed. Yes it was there, but I really don't think it was a black and white statement.

    In retrospect, people did over react, but I can't blame them. I'm just glad it's cleared up now.

    Only babies still being weaned could have believed that for more than a second. The ensuing outrage was as ridiculous as it was amusing.

    Titanfall, Dead Rising 3 and this? Don't all the good games that make xbone worth owning go to superior platforms?

    [So again, remember: in gaming, the word “exclusive” never actually means “exclusive.“]

    I've got 10 games for WiiU, I'm pretty sure all of them are exclusive- and will remain exclusive for years and years to come.

    Oh thank Lord Gaben! Thats a weight of my chest. I was infuriated about this. I'm glad for everyone that it isn't a full exclusive.

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