Microsoft Admits Xbox's Rise of the Tomb Raider Exclusive Won't Last Forever

Next year's Tomb Raider game isn't a full-on exclusive for Xbox One and Xbox 360.

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When it was announced at Gamescom yesterday that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360, some fans were angry and upset. But there was some question as to whether this was merely a timed exclusive, which would allow the game to come to other platforms (namely, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC) sometime following its release on Xbox One/360. After all, why wouldn't Microsoft come out and say the only place you'll ever play Rise of the Tomb Raider is on an Xbox if that's the case?

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

Now, thankfully for those worried they'll never get a chance to play the game without owning one of Microsoft's consoles, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has admitted to Eurogamer that this exclusivity won't last forever. Asked if there is a limited period of time covered by the deal between Microsoft and Square Enix, Spencer replied, "Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise."

What he wouldn't say is how long the game will remain Xbox-only. "It's not because I'm trying to be a headfake on anybody," Spencer said. "It's a deal between us and the partner. People ask me how much did we pay. 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."

Rise of the Tomb Raider concept art
Rise of the Tomb Raider concept art

Frustrating as it is, it's understandable that Spencer wouldn't be forthcoming with those details--that is what Microsoft (and Sony, in similar cases) has effectively paid to keep secret for now. At least we now have confirmation that this is a timed-exclusive deal. The original language around the announcement was worded in such a way as to prevent us from understanding what kind of deal Microsoft had actually struck.

A Microsoft press release sent out after the company's Gamescom press conference stated Rise of the Tomb Raider "will launch in holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox." A message to fans from developer Crystal Dynamics said, "[W]e've just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox." These lines left room for interpretation.

Spencer also said he understands fans' negative reaction to the news. "If I'm a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone," he said. "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 [3] or Ryse, we'll see what happens with the game. I don't own every iteration of Tomb Raider." Dead Rising 3 and Ryse, two Xbox One launch games, are each coming to PC later this year.

Does knowing that Rise of the Tomb Raider is only a timed exclusive change your feelings on this situation at all? Let us know in the comments.

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