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Microsoft's Xbox-exclusive Tomb Raider deal is for a limited time, Phil Spencer confirms

Rise of the Tomb Raider, the upcoming sequel to Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider, won't be exclusive to Xbox platforms forever. Microsoft's exclusivity contract with publisher Square Enix "has a duration," Xbox head Phil Spencer confirmed in an interview with Eurogamer.

Microsoft announced yesterday during its Gamescom 2014 press briefing that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be available exclusively on Xbox in holiday 2015. The news caused an outcry among gamers, with owners of PlayStation consoles angry that Microsoft had paid to apparently take the game away from them.

But the wording of the announcement from both Microsoft and developer Crystal Dynamics left some wiggle room for the game to be released on other platforms at some point afterward. And while Spencer declined to comment on the length of the exclusivity period or the financial terms of the deal, he told Eurogamer that once that arrangement runs its course, Square Enix is free to do with Rise of the Tomb Raider as it pleases.

"Yes, the deal has a duration. I didn't buy it. I don't own the franchise," said Spencer. "I have Tomb Raider shipping next holiday exclusively on Xbox. It is Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I'm not trying to fake anybody out in terms of where this thing is. What they do with the franchise in the long run is not mine. I don't control it."

Tomb Raider launched in March 2013 on PlayStation 3, Windows PC and Xbox 360, and was released this past January on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Spencer also said he understands the consternation of PlayStation fans in response to the news.

"I get the reaction I see. If I'm a PlayStation person all of a sudden I feel like, the franchise has gone," he said. "I didn't buy the IP. I didn't buy the studio. It's not mine. Where this thing will go over time, just like Dead Rising or Ryse, we'll see what happens with the game."

Spencer was referring to Capcom Vancouver's Dead Rising 3 and Crytek's Ryse: Son of Rome. Both of those games were exclusive to Xbox One at the console's launch last November, but are now on their way to PC.

Correction: This article originally stated that Dead Rising 3 is already available on PC, but that version will be released next month. We've edited the story to reflect this.

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