Why Is the New Tomb Raider Exclusive to the Side That’s Losing?

Why would developers side with the console that's currently losing this generation by a significant margin?

Why would developers side with the console that's currently losing this generation by a significant margin?
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It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.

Microsoft buys IPs. They either get games to go multiplatform that were exclusive to another platform, or they simply purchase full exclusivity for Xbox. They’ve been doing it since they entered the video game console market. As the PS2 completely dominated in every possible way, no publisher would really lose much by not putting their game on Xbox and yet, it happened.

Of course, with the Xbox 360 doing so well, it made sense to see more and more games on the Xbox platform. However, Microsoft’s business practices remained pretty similar: Give them enough money, and they’ll side with us.

Is there another explanation for the recently announced exclusivity deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider? Short answer: No.

I never understand why developers don’t just admit it: “Yes, Microsoft paid us”

It’s not difficult to figure out. Crystal Dynamics gives us this vague malarkey about how Microsoft has “always” supported their team, which implies Sony hasn’t, despite the fact that the franchise in question began on PC and PlayStation. It’s a standard response that means nothing; why not just admit it? Stand up and say, “yep, Microsoft offered us a boatload of money and we took it.” Hey, that’s business. You’re in business to make money and you decided to make the move.

Problem is, you can’t hide behind any other explanation. See, the PlayStation 4 is currently winning this generation. Estimates place PS4 sales around 10 million, while Xbox One sales hover at only 6 million. Those numbers aren’t official but regardless of the exact counts, it’s clear that – so far at least – Sony is winning this new war. Perhaps Crystal Dynamics thinks that will change and that’s their opinion. But you certainly don’t base a future business decision on a huge turnaround that may or may not happen.

On top of which, even if Xbox One pulled even or took the lead, there will still be lots of PS4 owners out there. By not putting your game on the PS4, you’re eliminating 50 percent of your potential consumers. And that’s more of a best-case scenario; right now, you’d be eliminating over 60 percent. That makes no logical business sense and as such, there’s only one explanation as to why the new Tomb Raider isn’t coming to PlayStation 4.

Sony has stated in the past that they acknowledge Microsoft’s continual effort to purchase the rights to various games. In response, Sony says that’s simply not how they do business. Now, perhaps that’s just sour grapes, in that Sony wasn’t always in a position to buy anything, while Microsoft’s deep pockets enable such a practice. You can all it whatever you like; it’s perfectly legal and really, there’s nothing immoral about it. I don’t condemn Microsoft for doing this; I just want to hear a developer admit they were bought.

Just once.

About the author

Fathoms_4209

A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.