Rise Of The Tomb Raider Xbox Exclusive Deal Is Not So Exclusive, Phil Spencer Reveals It's For A Limited Duration Only

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Aug 13, 2014 01:37 PM EDT
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Rise of the Tomb Raider was revealed to be an Xbox exclusive yesterday at Gamescom, drawing the collective ire of fans and writers around the gaming industry, but the arrangement is reportedly far from permanent.

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The murky definition of the word "exclusive", thrown around to varying degrees of meaningfulness by publishers and developers, has become something of a sticking point in the industry. It seems to have proven even more hollow now, as Xbox head Phil Spencer revealed to Eurogamer that Rise of the Tomb Raider will only be an Xbox One and Xbox 360 "exclusive" for a limited time.

"Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise," Spencer explained when asked if the exclusivity would expire. "No [I won't say how long the deal lasts]. It's not because I'm trying to be a headfake on anybody. 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 them. Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn't buy the IP in perpetuity."

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"When people want me to say, can you tell us when or if it's coming to other platforms, it's not my job," Spencer said. "My job is not to talk about games I don't own. I have a certain relationship on this version of Tomb Raider, which we announced, and I feel really good about our long term relationship with Crystal and Square.

"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. 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."

The word exclusive sometimes means a limited-time deal, as in this situation. Other times, it means a title is exclusive to one console (maybe permanently, maybe not), but it will be available on PC. Occasionally, it even means what it implies--or at least what it used to: the game will only be available on one platform, permanently. For now, as far as Rise of the Tomb Raider is concerned, we only have the following to go on:

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

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