Microsoft Says Tomb Raider Xbox Exclusivity Is A Win/Win, Not An Attack On PlayStation Players

"It really was nothing against any other platform," Xbox boss Phil Spencer says.

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Microsoft's business deal with Square Enix to make Rise of the Tomb Raider "exclusive" to Xbox 360 and Xbox One for holiday 2015 is not an attack on PlayStation or any other platforms, Xbox boss Phil Spencer says. In a new interview with Eurogamer, Spencer said he understands some of the blowback to the controversial deal--which sees Rise of the Tomb Raider released exclusively on Xbox platforms before other systems--but said it is a "win/win" situation overall.

"It really was nothing against any other platform," Spencer said. "It's just looking at our portfolio next holiday and saying, this is a great game for us, and we can go really big with it. If we look back on the franchise and this release, it can raise the elevation of what it means in gaming. I'll be happy to be part of that."

"This wasn't an attack against anybody else," he added. It was an opportunity that came up for us that fit really well."

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Spencer also made it clear that Microsoft's deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider is only for that game; decisions about exclusivity for potential future installments have not been made.

"I knew there would be some push back when we came out," he said. "Certain people won't believe this: it doesn't come from an evil space. It comes from a space where there's an opportunity that maps really well with what we need in terms of the genre, and a partner that's looking for a partnership. Other people can do the deal, but it was a deal that fit well with us. And I think it could help the franchise in the long run and help Crystal and Square and us."

"But for us and this opportunity, I think it was a good opportunity for us to partner on this game," Spencer added. "And I think it can be a win/win."

Eurogamer also asked Spencer if Microsoft's decision to sign Rise of the Tomb Raider as a timed-exclusive had anything to do with having an "answer" to Sony's Uncharted series. Spencer said he definitely sees the comparisons between Tomb Raider and Uncharted, and said picking up Rise of the Tomb Raider as a timed-exclusive is a way to better compete against Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, which also launches in 2015.

"I'm a big fan of Uncharted and I wish we had an action adventure game of that ilk," Spencer said. "We've started some, and we've looked at them. But we don't have one today of that quality. This [deal with Square Enix for Rise of the Tomb Raider] is an opportunity."

Spencer went on to say that the AAA space is a tough market today, and deals of this magnitude are one way to cut through the noise and make your game stand out.

"The games business today is an expensive business to be in. If you're going to build shows like [Gamescom], and IP, and marketing budgets, in certain instances a partnership is a good way for a publisher to find a way to get to the level they think they need to break out," he said. "Just look at this year and the October lineup. It's crazy. If you're one of the people who wants to make noise around the game you have, there are opportunities out there to partner with platform holders, with sponsorships and other things to make it big. This was one of those opportunities for Crystal and Square, and I think it can help take Tomb Raider and make it even bigger. We want it to be big, given what we have coming to the Xbox in the way it is."

Spencer added that big games like Rise of the Tomb Raider are "good for the [video game] industry," adding that if these types of games grow even larger, the industry stands to benefit. "This business, the console gaming business, only stays healthy if people are all making money. It's a hits-driven business, so 30 percent of the things will go great, and 70 percent of the things won't."

In the wake of Microsoft's Tomb Raider Xbox exclusivity deal, PlayStation EU executive Jim Ryan said in a media interview that Sony doesn't need to buy exclusives.

What is your take on Microsoft making Rise of the Tomb Raider an Xbox-exclusive, even if it's only a timed-exclusive? Let us know in the comments below!

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