Jimquisition: Rise Of The Exclusivity Wars

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The game is being released on the Xbox at the same time as Uncharted 4 so for it to be on the PS4 at that time may not be the smartest thing even if the game is ready so I guess Square Enix getting some money out of this on top of selling the game to the people that cant play the direct competition, to then release it to the players that can play Uncharted when they got tired of it as a new thing may not be all that bad, at least not for Square Enix

Jimothy Sterling:
I cannot control the visions that come to me. Such is my blessing, and my curse.

So what do you say to someone who asks if you are a god? Ghostbusters has something to say about that.

The Artificially Prolonged:
Well I'm convinced.

*Begins carving stone statue of Jim*

All hail the prophet!!!!

Sorry man, Jim is not the decider, he is but the messenger.

Zombie Badger:
Is it just me or does it look like Enix is modelling Lara off of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo?

Well, she doesn't have an abundance of body piercings or tattoos, but she definitely has the whole "psychologically damaged trauma victim" thing down. If this new series isn't a prequel to the old games, but an all-out "forget everything that came before" reboot, it feels like a step backwards for Lara.

Timed Exclusive stuff is a incredibly stupid practice:
A. It confuses and divides the fans of the game.
B. It confuses casual consumers.
C. It's a waste of money for the company looking to "add" value. (If Microsoft wanted to actually give value they would put a let's say, Halo or Gears of War related content)
D. After the PS4 version is released there's no advantage to have the Xbox One. Unless the Ps4 version runs or looks like shit.

I could maybe understand the timed exclusive for this game their Xbox One release date coincides with the new Uncharted and they want to compete with that game. Still maybe they should push it back so they can hit with both versions after the Uncharted Hype dies down and people are itching for a similar game.

Evonisia:
If Jim keeps making these predictions I'm pretty sure every big publisher is going to explode into burning money come year's end.

It won't just be the publishers. If Jim is as spot-on as he was last week, then we can expect to see the following announcement from Microsoft within the hour:

"Playstation 4 will be exclusive to Xbox One this December"

Can you imagine? o.O

The other thing that makes Rise of the Tomb Raider's exclusivity even more perplexing is what SE thought of the first game's performance. Despite the fact that it was both a critical and financial success, Square deemed it a failure, not living up their "projections." You know the projections, the ones that St. Sterling railed on about when success is less, "Hey, we made some fucking money!" and more, "Fuck, we didn't sell a bajillion and eleventy copies! FUCK!"

So why then, if the last game failed to meet expectations, would they ink this deal? The money, obviously. But when the PS4 is outselling the Xbone, it makes more sense to hedge your bets, secure customer satisfaction, and release it for both. Squeenix isn't hurting for cash anymore, either. FFXIV is seeing to that.

Microsoft has just been stepping on mines all week. The backlash on this was so great it basically got Phil Spencer to break the confidentiality arrangement with Square and reveal it was a limited exclusive after several agents of Microsoft and the developers of Tomb Raider repeatedly said it was fully exclusive.

You think Square is happy about Spencer doing that? You think they're happy about now having to announce the existence of other versions and release dates for the other platforms far earlier than they wanted to? You think they're happy about the sales of the Xbox versions being even lower than they would have been since some people are just going to wait now?

Microsoft is just one PR disaster after another.

Sanunes:
I do win a little bit when it comes to these "exclusives" I lose any interest in the game and eventually pick it up when the price has fallen or Steam puts the game on sale.

That and xbone owners beta testing the game are the only good points for timed exclusivity for the overwhelming majority of us.

I doubt the new Tomb Raider will reach anywhere near the numbers of its predecessor (which got itself released on at least 5 different platforms) but the exclusive deal will drive sales down even lower.

This is all the more reason the triple A industry is heading for a crash. It may work in the short term (which is all that matters to them) but in the long term it will only alienate customers, and with cheaper, older titles available at GOG and Steam, and the middle tear and indi games, the alternatives to triple A titles are numerous. True that only a small audience actually knows of these alternatives right now but as time goes on more will learn of them. The economy is still shit and many people don't have money to 60 bucks on a game let alone buying more than one copy to get the whole game.

PunkRex:
Will you be wanting warm goose fat for that wank sire or should I make some gravy?

OT: Still just enjoying my 3DS over here, you guys and gals are welcome to join me.

lol. I think this is going to end up being a lot of people over the next two years. While the devil's duke it out and the peasants try to take cover a bunch of us will just be sitting in our own little space enjoying our 3DS' and Wii U's while the rest of the world burns.

Thanatos2k:
Microsoft has just been stepping on mines all week. The backlash on this was so great it basically got Phil Spencer to break the confidentiality arrangement with Square and reveal it was a limited exclusive after several agents of Microsoft and the developers of Tomb Raider repeatedly said it was fully exclusive.

You think Square is happy about Spencer doing that? You think they're happy about now having to announce the existence of other versions and release dates for the other platforms far earlier than they wanted to? You think they're happy about the sales of the Xbox versions being even lower than they would have been since some people are just going to wait now?

Microsoft is just one PR disaster after another.

Microsoft desperately needs new management. The people in charge of Microsoft don't know what they are doing, they've been stepping in land mines sense Windows 8 and they just keep walking through the mine field.This is what happens when the people running the companies do not understand the products are the customers.

Ben's original article makes several very valid points. Key is that without the Microsoft cash influx into this game, it would most likely not exist at all. Unfortunately we're likely to never get the full story, because "We don't have faith in this game by itself" and "We needed outside funding to pull it off" are terrible things for a marketing team to say. If this industry only had more transparency, I don't think we'd be complaining about it. (nearly as much)

I just dug out of storage my N64, my GameCube, and bought an xbox for super cheap from a friend. I've been having more fun with my old games than I can possibly imagine having trying to wade through all the bullshit right now.

In general I don't like exclusives at all. I don't mind timed exclusives as much, but do they REALLY need to have them?

There are those who will NEVER buy the console these exclusives are on. A PS4 player may never buy an XB1, but I'm sure they might buy games that would otherwise be exclusives. Same goes for the reverse... How many Xbox (360 or 1) players that wouldn't but a PS3/4 WOULD buy say... The Last of Us.

I'm a PC player and I wish I could buy Journey. I played it on a friend's PS3, start to finish and I'd still buy it right now if I could.

But I'm sure that someone will point out that "exclusives sell the console" and I suppose they are right. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

Eh, Jim you're more of a benevolent demigod.

Ah, the Tomb Raider exclusivity controversy. Had a feeling this would pop up. Maybe it's because I'm pretty new to this gaming thing, but I feel kind of more impressed than annoyed that someone would actually do that. I saw the Microsoft Gamescom thing, and they stated that Tomb Raider was gonna be an Xbone exclusive without a word about what exclusive actually meant in this regard. Not a single word! That's really dishonest and misleading, bordering very close to outright lying to their audience. But they did it anyway!

Jim, you are so right.

Let me know if you need a hand with that wank.

My issue as an Xbox owner is, yeah, Microsoft game me squat. I get no benefit from this. They didn't pay to make my experience better; they paid so everyone else would have a lesser experience.

This is much more frustrating when they openly said "we don't have our own action adventure game to compete with Uncharted" in justifying the move... so, rather than create one, they just decided to buy it.

This painted them as bullies holding something a majority of Tomb Raider players wanted for ransom and, rather than make people want an Xbox One, made them just hate the company for using their money to get between them and their gaming hobby.

And Xbox owners, I've seen, are upset because Microsoft has all these deep pockets and squandered them on this deal, rather than investing in one of their many struggling studios or properties. It's not like they don't OWN a library of some of the greatest adventure games of all time after they bought RARE. But, no, let's NOT make a new Conker, or Banjo-Kazooie, or Perfect Dark, or Battletoads, or Jet Force Gemini, or even Blast Corp or Kameo...

For perspective, Microsoft spent over $400 million securing the rights to an NFL app for Xbox... the same amount Rockstar and 2K Games spent creating Grand Theft Auto V. Let that sink in.

TiberiusEsuriens:
Ben's original article makes several very valid points. Key is that without the Microsoft cash influx into this game, it would most likely not exist at all. Unfortunately we're likely to never get the full story, because "We don't have faith in this game by itself" and "We needed outside funding to pull it off" are terrible things for a marketing team to say. If this industry only had more transparency, I don't think we'd be complaining about it. (nearly as much)

Square Enix announced a sequel to this game AGES ago. It was always going to happen. In fact, according to Square Enix's financial reports, Tomb Raider is one of their most profitable and successful games this ENTIRE console generation, and has surpassed nearly 7 million in sales. A sequel was never in question. Square Enix was just being stupid when they said it was "disappointing" their estimates after one single solitary month (of selling 3 million copies), because they didn't think the game would have the legs it did to keep selling. They were wrong and the game was one of the brightest feathers in their cap (especially compared to how much money Final Fantasy XIV's launch, lackluster FF13 sequels, and other disasters cost them).

Square Enix isn't some poor indie studio hurting for money. The series has always thrived on Playstation and PC, more so than Xbox. The PS4 version outsold the Xbox One version nearly two-to-one, and now the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One itself 3-to-1. If Square Enix was disappointed in Tomb Raider's sales at first, needing over 5 million to be profitable, there aren't even 5 million Xbox Ones in people's homes yet globally. They cut off PC as well, with over 65 million Steam users as potential buyers. PS4 just crossed 10 million sold to customers, tracking to be nearly 30 million by Holiday 2015 when this game ships.

I have no idea how much money Xbox gave them, but I simply don't see how locking off 80% of your audience is a financially sound investment. Worse, the PR hit does damage that money simply can't buy back. Microsoft came across as bullies and Square Enix looked like they were willing to screw over their most hardcore, loyal, and supportive fans in favor of a quick buck.

I don't think it was worth it.

Deathfish15:
Jim, I really didn't mind you doing over and over again the "Thank God for me", but your ego is getting so big that it might overshadow EA's greed. Do you see how *****ed up that is?! Tune it down a bit, ol' boy, tune it down!

He's a pundit. His ego is supposed to be catastrophic in size.

Jim, i think they are listening. Start predicting more fun stuff like a Soul Reaver 3, Kotor3 or news on the new Fallout? Never know, we might get some great gaming news.

I just hope he takes his gloves off after the videos, otherwise... Yeowchers. That's got to chafe.
... What, comments on the vid? Sorry, the tactical TMI scarred me a bit.
It's a sad state of affairs, this industry. And one of these days, the customer base will turn around, say "No. Fuck you, I'm not falling for it again" & we'll have an industry crash. If only those in the positions of influence, just... I dunno, in words of Adam Hills, "Stop been Dicks", it'd probably be fine in a couple years.

I lost a fair measure of respect for Kuchera when he wrote this. There's reporting cold realities, and then there's just not being on the public's side; I don't think the big boys really deserve a journalist doing their "Surrender Dorothy" schtick for them.

(And, y'know, he was just flat-out wrong on that account, so there's that.)

As to the big issue: yeah, losing the next TR temporarily kind of sucks, but then, I never bought the original until it became available in one of those to-the-bones Steam sales; waiting six months or more isn't really an issue for me. As far as exclusives go, I'm far more interested in No Man's Sky, which remains particular to the PC and PS4 last I checked.

Obviously, this is my personal opinion and your mileage may vary, but the games I buy on or near their release dates these days are few and far between. A game pretty much has to be something I feel a need to individually support to get my money early; it has to be bringing something to the field that I feel a need to encourage, that I think we need to see more of in the medium. Day-one DLC? Pffft. It will probably be available in the GOTY edition, or for $0.99 well after the critics have weighed in on whether it's actually worth the trouble.

The Tomb Raiders of the world seem like they'll do just fine without me, and if they don't, well, I guess that's our turn to snidely reply "business is business".

This industry cannot survive in its current form any longer.

Videogames as a medium MUST become "all conole/pc" supporting. Just like how we could by a phillips or a sony bluray player to play blu rays, videogames MUST stop being about these imaginary boundaries that exist with the current and past consoles. Like that saying: Past performance is no indicator of future results. These industry execs are willfully ignoring the writing on the wall, and the great tragedy in this is that the developers in the middle are going to suffer the most from market corrections.

The games industry needs to free the game development platform!

Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, this goes for all three of you. Virtualization is completely possible with your current over-glorified PC imitation boxes. You need to surrender your development kits, make a task force, and unify all game software supportable across all platforms. Then let the consumer decide if they want to play their all-platform supporting games on a Sony device, a microsoft device, or a Nintendo device. You could still sell your hardware, but you'd be freed of the need to market and bargain for temporary exclusives any longer, because all systems would support the game!

THIS needs to happen if this industry is going to stabilize. I just hope I see this happen in my lifetime.

Reminds me a bit with the whole waffling about Bungie's made about the PC version of Destiny, never really committing to it either way.

Actually, it really does remind me of the whole Halo 1 debacle for those who were old fans of the company and had bought their games on floppies in the day. Halo announced at MacWorld as a PC/Mac game. Yay! Bungie bought out by Microsoft. Boo, but no reason why it couldn't still come out on either. Halo re-announced as a XBox exclusive? Double-boo. Two years pass, and Gearbox/MacSoft finally get the computer versions out. Yay? Halo 2 comes out a year later, XBox-exclusive again. Boo. Three years pass, and Halo 2 comes out on the computer but requires Vista. ALL THE BOOS.

And then the long drought happens. Bungie finally gets out of Microsoft's thumb, and you'd think they would want to get their games on everything after being exclusive for so long. And then Destiny's announced, but they're doing a similar thing to the TR news and won't actually say if it's a thing that's actually coming even though earlier builds of the game were demoed on a computer and they've said all the tools and engine they've been using is pretty cross-platform so it wouldn't be a huge effort to do it...

The moneyhat twists and corrupts the hearts and souls of mortal men.

One point Jim didn't touch upon, when Sony or Microsoft simply buy some form of exclusive access, where do you think the money comes from for them to make these 'purchases' in the first place?

Oh, wait, is "rise of" a pun on Rise of the Tomb Raider? Damn, I was all set to talk about how exclusivity is not a new thing. It is a bad thing for gamers, but not a new one.

EDIT: Oh, also, I like a lot of Ben Kuchera's writings about video games but he has always been something of an industry cheerleader. Remember how positive he was on the Xbox always online news and wrote that no matter how big a stink gamers made Microsoft wouldn't change it, implying we shouldn't even try?

The problem with "competition" in the games industry is that isn't an open and competitive market, it is a duopoly where the platform holders hold most of the power.

Sooo. Microsoft and Square hedge their bets on people not having impulse control? Are they expecting people to throw down their PS4 and run out and buy a Xbone because they have an extra 500 dollars just sitting in their wallets? Or is it for the handful of people that happen to already own both a PS4 and Xbone and Microsoft wants them to purchase the game for their console first? I'm very confused by this move. I mean PS4 owners know its coming to their system. Sooo how exactly is pissing off your customers in one hand and giving absolutely no favors to the others in the other hand that buy the game how you want them to buy it help you? You aren't giving them anything, so to them its just another video game purchase and to the others its a horrible slight to those fans. Nothing the video game industry does makes any sense to me.
All publishers are training people to do is not buy Consoles because anything on the PC is probably going to be the better deal and more importantly the potential library of games you can posses on PC is NEARLY EVERY SINGLE GAME EVER.

What i liked with this PR mess it's the simple fact that MS made an announcement about the deal one day later because of the sh...storm. It's simply awesome to see a big corp making a interview just to calm peoples.
In a single day...

Another thing is for square enix... They lost a day one sell with me, i'll wait for a Steam sale.
Since i'm a pc player, i can even choose to play the game without buying it, after all SE prefer MS money than mine...

I'll wait for a steam sale at 10$ maximum.

Ben Kuchera's article on Polygon is anti-consumerist corporate dick sucking garbage. Not altogether shocking, just to be expected in this glorious New World of video gaming.

Evonisia:
If Jim keeps making these predictions I'm pretty sure every big publisher is going to explode into burning money come year's end.

I find it weird that the only financial point on Rise of the Tomb Raider's exclusivity in this video came in the form of "the previous game sold more on the PS4". Tomb Raider 2013 took seven million sales to become profitable, the Xbox One doesn't even have seven million households with one inside yet. Then again, it's obviously a timed exclusive so oh well.

Well that offers an idea as to how we the consumers could get them to cut this shit out. Timed exclusive? Everyone who has the other console(s) boycotts it. Force them to nut up and make an actual exclusive if they want to pull this shit. See how much they like it when the new Tomb Raider has less than a million sales because they chose to put it exclusively on a console where that was inevitable.

Anybody with me?

Callate:
I lost a fair measure of respect for Kuchera when he wrote this. There's reporting cold realities, and then there's just not being on the public's side; I don't think the big boys really deserve a journalist doing their "Surrender Dorothy" schtick for them.

(And, y'know, he was just flat-out wrong on that account, so there's that.)

As to the big issue: yeah, losing the next TR temporarily kind of sucks, but then, I never bought the original until it became available in one of those to-the-bones Steam sales; waiting six months or more isn't really an issue for me. As far as exclusives go, I'm far more interested in No Man's Sky, which remains particular to the PC and PS4 last I checked.

Obviously, this is my personal opinion and your mileage may vary, but the games I buy on or near their release dates these days are few and far between. A game pretty much has to be something I feel a need to individually support to get my money early; it has to be bringing something to the field that I feel a need to encourage, that I think we need to see more of in the medium. Day-one DLC? Pffft. It will probably be available in the GOTY edition, or for $0.99 well after the critics have weighed in on whether it's actually worth the trouble.

The Tomb Raiders of the world seem like they'll do just fine without me, and if they don't, well, I guess that's our turn to snidely reply "business is business".

Yeah Kuchera has not exactly been pro consumer. Besides the fact that he was COMPLETELY WRONG in underestimating the gaming public (which he doesn't seem to hold much respect for in the first place).

Plus he has a nasty habit of banning people who expose the hypocrisy of his articles.

I'm just waiting for the eventual picture of him next to the Mountain Dew and Doritos.

Silentpony:
Well here's my question: If Tomb Raider, or hell, ANY game is sold on preorder as 'exclusive', and then later released for another system, shouldn't Microsoft or Sony(whichever you bought from) refund the difference? If I bought TitanFall on preorder form $80, operating under the idea its an Xbone exclusive, then 6 months later it comes out for Steam at $50, shouldn't I get my $30 'exclusive' service fee back?!

Nope! For you see, what you paid for was the "privilege" of "early access." While all the commoners had to wait longer for the once thought "exclusive" whatever to arrive to their peasant tables, you were feasting and growing fat on its "innovative" whatever, however long in advance.

Yahtzee said it before: the consoles no longer provide access to something you want, instead they hold something you want hostage.

What bugs me as a Tomb Raider fan of the reboot, and an Xbox owner, is that Tomb Raider had been struggling for awhile, selling less and less, and with Uncharted around seemed headed for irrelevancy.

Then the reboot came out and gave it a much-needed shot in the arm, one supported STRONGLY by Playstation and PC fans. For the first time in YEARS, people liked Tomb Raider again.

I feel this will take that forward momentum, that fresh start, and just utterly grind it all to a screeching halt. That roughly 80% of their market share is upset and angry, which is NOT what you want to have on a franchise that only JUST got its legs under it only a short year ago.

The only kind of explanation I can see making any sort of sense in my head is Squeenix realising that Tomb Raider would have to go up against Uncharted, fearing it would fail spectacularly, and then deciding that instead of going head to head against Sony's flagship title they'd jump ship, take Microsoft's money and then release a "definitive" version for pS4 after it's in the clear. Whis is still nonsensical, but is as cohesive as I can think of.

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