Gamescom has passed and one of Microsoft’s announcements was that Square-Enix’s next Tomb Raider game (The Rise of Tomb Raider) will be an “exclusive”. Turns out this game will be another one of those “timed exclusives”. As per Phil Spencer:
“Obviously the deal does have a duration. I didn’t buy the IP in perpetuity.” — Phil Spencer”
However, it really makes no difference whether it is 100% Xbox exclusive or if the PC or PS4 version comes out a week after. According to wikipedia, the last Tomb Raider game (2013) sold 6.5 million copies:
“As of June 2014, Tomb Raider has sold over 6.5 million units.”
For sake of argument, I’ll round up to 7 million to take into account an extra two months of last gen bargain bin sales and adding some sales from the next gen Definitive Edition that came out months ago.
Guess what? There’s about 160+ million 360/PS3 consoles out there and who knows…. maybe another 100+ million PC gamers. Heck, Steam said earlier this year it has 75 million users alone. Add that up and you probably have a good 300 million potential buyers. And the game sold 7 million copies.
That’s about 2% of gamers buying it. Goes to show the most vocal people come from a small subset of actual buyers.
As for people complaining about Microsoft wheeling and dealing, don’t forget Sony did the exact same thing to take the rug out from Sega and Nintendo way back. They paid Core Design to specifically make Tomb Raider 2 and 3 for PS1.
The company is widely known for the Tomb Raider series, created by Toby Gard and Paul Howard Douglas, which was released in 1996 and followed by several sequels. The success of Tomb Raider and its subsequent sequels played a huge part in keeping Eidos Interactive financially solvent.
After the release of the original Tomb Raider, which had debuted on the Sega Saturn platform ahead of the PlayStation version (they had been developed simultaneously) Sony Computer Entertainment recognised the game’s popularity and the potential mass appeal of future Tomb Raider titles. SCE offered Core Design and Eidos Interactive an exclusivity agreement, to ensure that the first sequel would not be developed for either the Saturn or the Nintendo 64. The full terms of this offer have never been revealed. By making the PlayStation the only console with Tomb Raider II, Sony Computer Entertainment was able to benefit by attracting new PlayStation owners leveraging Tomb Raider as a killer application and using Lara Croft as a marketing character alongside Sony’s own first party characters. Core Design also had the advantage of developing only for a single console, rather than several at once. This exclusivity agreement was further extended to cover the third game in the series. The fourth and fifth games in the franchise, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation and Tomb Raider Chronicles respectively, were also released for the Sega Dreamcast.