Tomb Raider

Facts Why “Rise of the Tomb Raider” Might Be A Timed Exclusive for the Xbox One

Rise of the Tomb Raider
was announced to be an Xbox One exclusive during the Xbox media briefing at Gamescom 2014. Many fans of the series were shocked by the announcement, especially on our Twitter mentions. Could there be a possibility that the game will be available for other platforms, such as PC and PlayStation 4, once it debuts on the Xbox One in holiday 2015? Let’s have a look at the facts that could strengthen the possibility of Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix bringing the next big Tomb Raider experience for other platforms in 2016 or later.

Most of the Copies Were Sold on PlayStation Platforms
(Following sales info is provided by Vgchartz)

Tomb Raider (2013) and Definitive Edition have sold 4 541 000 copies in total on PlayStation and Xbox platforms. (Not PC version included) When analyzing the charts, it seems 69 percent of the copies were bought for the PlayStation platforms and 31 percent for the Xbox platforms. In numbers this means PlayStation version of Tomb Raider sold approx. 3 133 290 copies when the Xbox version sold approx. 1 407 710 copies. As bad as it might sound, Square Enix would be losing 69% of their previous sales by making the next Tomb Raider game an Xbox One exclusive. Of course, this won’t be the exact number since the fans will be buying the game anyway, but it shows how big of a lost it could be for the company. It might be quite crucial when looking at the next fact:

Tomb Raider (2013) Barely Made Profit

As successful as Tomb Raider was with its sales and reviews, it didn’t redeem Square Enix’s expectations. The company expected the game would be selling at least 6 million copies during its launch week, but it failed to achieve that. Luckily, the game finally achieved profitability during the end of 2013, and the launch of the definitive edition likely gave them more additional profits. As the sequel will be an exclusive for the Xbox One, which has a smaller user base than the the previous generation consoles, it’s quite unlikely the sequel will be reaching the big sales expectations when said platform is already “suffering” from worse sales when compared to its major competitor. With the next fact we are discussing to look at as to why Square Enix won’t likely be able to afford the exclusivity for a long time, as they already had problems covering the costs with five different platforms.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Is a Big AAA title with Expensive Technology

Last week, Camille Luddington uploaded a new picture from the Tomb Raider recording session to her Instagram. She was covered by UV reflective painting with over 7000 dots that are used to capture a realistic character model for the game. Previously, they only used 90 dots which makes this new system sound even more impressive. The system we are talking about is called MOVA and it’s already used in the movies such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and Transformers which are well-known from their impressive visual effects. The MOVA tech has even won the Visual Effects Oscar.

As you can guess, this system will be expensive to use and it won’t be the only next generation technology that Crystal Dynamics exploits during the development of  Rise of the Tomb Raider. Not to mention, the development costs are rising for AAA titles every year. How is Square Enix planning to cover the expenses when Xbox One is not as successful as PlayStation 4, making the copies even harder to sell for the audience?



Rise of the Tomb Raider is clearly a title bought to sell the Xbox One platform, and it will surely do it well. But when looking at these facts, it seems quite unlikely Square Enix wants or will be able to afford losing all the sales that they have received from the PlayStation platforms. These are quite strong signs, why the game is very likely a timed exclusive for the Xbox One. Microsoft simply had enough money to cover the possible PS4 sales, and perhaps they want to make the series “Xbox’s Uncharted”. If Rise of the Tomb Raider truly is a full-time exclusive, it must have cost Microsoft A LOT.

There is still over a year before the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider and only time will show us the truth. Will we see the next Tomb Raider game arriving for other platforms in 2016? Maybe.

5 replies »

  1. Nice article! It was quite a fun read!

    I think they will keep it an exclusive for a set amount of time only as their sales will suffer and then probably re-release it as a “definite” edition again with all DLC or whatever for both next gen platforms and PC to boost the sales everywhere.

    I’ve read an article on the internet 2-3 days ago that the new Tomb Raider game will aim to reach a quality spot unlike any other Tomb Raider game has, they want to create the ultimate Tomb Raider adventure! Which means a lot more costs to cover with the sales which goes to my previous point on which they will resort to removing the exclusivity of the game.

    It’s also a way for Microsoft to boost it’s console’s sales and I guess they will support Square Enix enough financially so there might be a chance that Tomb Raider will remain exclusive.

    Finally we aren’t even sure what Square Enix really plans to do with the Tomb Raider IP as they will release Temple of Osiris for more platforms and only that Tomb Raider sequel was announced as an exclusive so far. Maybe they can only do it as an exclusive because it would be otherwise impossible with less funds than the one Microsoft is willing to provide to them.

  2. “and it will surely do it well.”

    Disagree, by doing this they will have effectively killed this newly rebooted franchise and have earned themselves considerable fan backlash in the process. If it doesn’t at least appear on PC in the future this could well be the last game we see featuring this version of Lara Croft.

    Basically it’s a huge middle finger to fans on PC and PS and SE and CD will be lucky if I support any more of their products.

    Also I wouldn’t take the VGChartz numbers as gospel, they’re known to be inaccurate.

    • Sorry for the late comment approve, I’ve not been online to check them out.

      As annoying this situation may be, big money talks. Square Enix must have seen Uncharted 4 being way too big challenge for Tomb Raider, and seeing Microsoft’s offer to provide extra help and reduced costs with development, they have likely agreed with them. It’s sad for other fans who only own PS4 and can’t afford another console, but perhaps a clever business decision.

      “and it will surely do it well.” comment was a statement that even though there’s lots of drama online, many casuals aren’t even aware of the situation behind the game. This has been seen with a few titles. As Microsoft provides marketing help and Crystal Dynamics (hopefully) does well with the development, the game might do very well on Xbox One.

      But we don’t really have a reason to worry anymore since it seems the game is a timed exclusive, according to MS executive. Like during the last generation, perhaps Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix will provide extra content for PS4 version. This same happened with Bioshock when it arrived for PlayStation 3, for example. :)

  3. Also the fact that square has recently dropped all exclusive stuff, like final fantasy and kingdom hearts… doesn’t seem like they care about stuff like that, most important for a company that is struggling a little is to sell, where doesn’t matter, so if they get money to sell 3 months on only one system they will take it but not forever that would be a huge loss.

  4. I think this was just turn to cover the development in case that game will be profitable later as previous TR. Square Enix had good relations with Sony… We can see that on KH 1,5 and FF X/X-2 as they were only on Playstation. Somebody can say it is because it was on PS2 but difference between PS2 vs PS3/xbox360 in architecture is almost same (in different way). This game is just limited exclusivity… Maybe PS taking more time cause they want use functions of DS4 which Xbox controller just doesn’t have.

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