The new Xbox One exclusive is… TOMB RAIDER!

Rise of  The Tomb Raider

It is not unusual in these ultra-competitive times for games consoles to have titles exclusive to them. After all Microsoft’s Xbox has Halo, and Sony’s PlayStation has the Uncharted franchise. What is unusual, though, is for a high value and previously multi-platform franchise to completely change its sales model and become a one brand band. That is exactly what has happened, however, as the next Tomb Raider game, Rise Of The Tomb Raider, is now an Xbox exclusive!

Yes, that’s right. The franchise which saw a rejuvenation last year thanks to the latest release titled solely Tomb Raider is now, for the first time in its history, restricting itself to one brand of console for a major release – a daring and risky move when you consider that the previous titles sales were deemed to be “disappointing” by distributor Square Enix as they had hoped for it to sell 5 – 6 million units. It sold 4.83 million worldwide. Another interesting fact to consider is that the game sold 2.22 million copies on PS3 and 1.71 million copies on Xbox 360, meaning that on paper, at least, it would appear that Xbox is the lesser commercially successful of the two platforms for the last game.

So what will happen now when the game sells less due to the fact that the Xbox One has only shipped 5 million consoles to retailers? Yes, this number could be increased by the time the game is released, but would that number be greater than the combined sales of the PS3 and PS4? Doubtful. Also, not all of the audience for the Xbox One will want to purchase the game. Granted, the announcement does mention that it will be an Xbox exclusive and so this could mean that it will also be released on Xbox 360, but this would still mean that they are cutting their audience essentially in two. A brave move for any company, no matter what the product. Arguably, of course, this may mean that less money is spent on development, as the company will only have to produce the game on two platforms now.

That said, this is undeniably an interesting move and one that Darrell Gallagher, head of the the game’s development group, Crystal Dynamics, took to tumblr to try to explain:

Dear Tomb Raider Community,

As you may have seen, we’ve just announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming Holiday 2015, is exclusively on Xbox. We consider all of you to be the lifeblood of Tomb Raider and the work we do at Crystal. I’d like to give you some insight into this decision, and why we feel this is the very best thing for the Tomb Raider sequel we’re creating at the studio.

Lara informs a Sony rep of her new moveTomb Raider in 2013 was a success due in large part to your continued support. Our goal has always been to deliver something truly special with Rise of the Tomb Raider. Today’s announcement with Microsoft is one step to help us put Tomb Raider on top of action adventure gaming. Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge potential in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. 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.

This doesn’t mean that we’re walking away from our fans who only play on PlayStation or on PC. Those are great systems, with great partners, and amazing communities. We have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris coming to those platforms this December, and Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is available on PS4.

We know that there are probably many more questions and concerns. Please do send them to us, and we’ll answer to the best of our ability. Meanwhile we’re going all out to try and make something truly special – the most ambitious Tomb Raider game ever built.

Thanks,

Darrell Gallagher

Crystal Dynamics Head of Studios”

When you examine the statement, it does not really answer the question of why the game is being released on just one console. All it does is give what could be considered a generic answer – Microsoft gave us more support. Intriguingly, it does heavily praise Microsoft’s support of the franchise and the fact that the company are going to help elevate the Tomb Raider brand to new heights. Could this mean that this new partnership will see the franchise spinoff into other areas on the Xbox platform? Could we see the pairing take advantage of Microsoft’s plan to deliver exclusive television-style content on the Xbox One with a Tomb Raider TV series as the result? Who knows? One thing is for certain though, for now, Microsoft have managed to get a huge scoop and one that they are destined to rub in the face of Sony in the run up to the release of Rise of The Tomb Raider at the end of 2015.

What do you think of this news? Are you disappointed with the announcement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sources: ignKotaku | Polygon | Eurogamer | VGChartz

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