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Lara Croft will rise on Xbox One first, but that won’t stop her from eventually rising elsewhere later on.
Microsoft’s Xbox boss Phil Spencer confirmed that the deal he made to get publisher Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider exclusively on Xbox One is only for a limited time. In an interview with Eurogamer, Spencer acknowledged that he understands why some fans are upset that the latest Tomb Raider will hit one console first, but he also noted that Microsoft didn’t buy the franchise and that Square Enix still controls it. At the Gamescom conference in Germany yesterday, Microsoft revealed that it has the exclusive launch rights for Lara Croft’s next adventure, which drew the ire of some fans.
“The [Tomb Raider] deal has a duration,” Spencer told Eurogamer. “I didn’t buy it. I don’t own the franchise.”
Microsoft confirmed that the specifics of the deal have Rise of the Tomb Raider debuting exclusively on Xbox 360 and Xbox One holiday 2015. Spencer and Square Enix have not provided a length for the exclusivity, but the game at least won’t appear on other platforms until 2016.
“What [Square Enix does] with the franchise in the long run is not [for me to say],” said Spencer. “I don’t control it. So all I can talk about is the deal I have.”
Microsoft’s deal with Square Enix is its latest big move to set the Xbox One apart from its PlayStation 4 competition. Sony confirmed that it has sold 10 million PS4s to gamers worldwide since its November launch, which is significantly better than the approximately 6 million Xbox Ones Microsoft has shipped to retailers. To stay competitive, Spencer has already decoupled the Kinect camera, lowered the price (to match PS4’s $400), and released a number of updates to add features. Now, it looks like Microsoft wants to lock up some big-name games.