One of the most alarming things to come out of Microsoft’s Gamescom conference was the announcement that Rise of the Tomb Raider would be available “Holiday 2015, Exclusively on Xbox.” A shock reveal that caught the gaming world off guard, however what’s really surprising is that by agreeing making this game an exclusive – timed or otherwise – is that Square Enix may have admitted that they no longer believe in their product.
This wouldn’t be the first time the publisher expressed their dissatisfaction with the franchise, despite launching to positive reviews and totting up 3.4 million units sold – coming in second behind BioShock Infinite that month – Square were quoted as saying that the game failed to meet their expectations.
In a weird twist of fate, this is a real regressive move from the company. Square have had a history of alliances with certain platforms; whether you consider Final Fantasy’s humble roots with Nintendo or Sony’s dominance on its disc based powerhouses. Yet in recent times they’ve been so eager to embrace multi-platform development, whether they were bringing Final Fantasy XIII to the 360 or announcing that the Kingdom Hearts franchise would be gracing a Microsoft console for the first time.
Since Microsoft aren’t averse to paying to nab an exclusive we can assume that a significant amount of money has exchanged hands. Square Enix are a business and their goal is to maximize profit, which seems insane since they’re culling their potential user base, especially when you take into account the fact that the Tomb Raider Definitive Edition sold 2 copies on PlayStation 4 for every one copy sold on the Xbox One.
By dropping PlayStation and PC users, Square have suggested that they no longer believe Rise of the Tomb Raider is a product strong enough to stand on its own and that it needs to be touted as an exclusive to even have a shot at making back the money spent developing it.