The title of this piece pretty accurately sums up my feelings on the matter of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s exclusivity for Xbox One, as one might expect. However, now with some valuable hindsight on the matter, we can delve into just how poorly the deal worked out for both Microsoft, and the game itself.
Firstly, let’s state the obvious: video game exclusivity is terrible for us, the customer. In what other instances are consumers actively locked out from experiencing a product, because they chose not to purchase a £400+ plastic box?
On the other side of the product, it’s also terrible for the developer. I remember how the servers for Titanfall were virtually empty just mere months after launch exclusively on the Xbox One, even if I was still tirelessly playing the game. Because as good as Titanfall was (and it was good), it was stranded on a video game system that was arguably in free-fall at the time.
Us Titanfall fans should probably count ourselves lucky that we’re getting a sequel to the game at all, let along the fact that it’s going to be available for the maximum audience to experience across both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later on this year.
But in the case of Rise of the Tomb Raider, this exclusivity deal for the Xbox One has worked out incredibly badly. It started out by shooting itself in the foot, with Microsoft announcing that it was a full exclusive, then that it was a timed exclusive, then that it was back to a full exclusive, then that it was back to a timed exclusive.
While the mixed messaging is still something that plagues Microsoft to this day (see: Xbox Scorpio announcement), the tradition of exclusivity deals working out badly for video games also continued with Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Concrete sales data was never actually provided for the game, and while Rise of the Tomb Raider did manage to pass one million sales on Xbox One around the beginning of this year, the game was reportedly selling three times better on the PC. If this isn’t an indication that the console exclusivity for the game failed, I don’t know what is.
Now though, the PS4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider has been officially announced, with Sony revealing on the PlayStation Blog that all content released thus far for the Xbox One and PC versions of the game would be included with the PS4 version, as well as two brand new modes coinciding with the re-release of the title.
In addition to this, a new mission will be added to the PS4 version of the game, that would allow players to explore Croft Manor while fully immersed in a new first-person mode, enabled through the use of PlayStation VR.
There’s no doubt in my mind that the virtual reality mission based around Croft Manor will push some hesitant customers over the edge and in to buying Rise of the Tomb Raider for the PS4. Hell, I already own the game on Xbox One, and I plan on buying it again for the PlayStation 4.
To briefly summarise the entire situation, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be releasing on PlayStation 4 on October 11, with all the extra Season Pass content at no extra cost, with an art book celebrating 20 years of Lara, with a virtual reality mission for the PSVR, and with two brand new modes for free.
I hate the ‘console wars’, but if that isn’t a win for Sony, I don’t know what is.