Microsoft paid $100 million for Tomb Raider exclusivity

It cost Microsoft a pretty penny to keep Tomb Raider's Lara Croft on PCs and the Xbox.


Ever wondered how much it would cost to keep a gaming legend exclusive to your platform? In the case of Lara Croft, it's a nice round number - $100 million to be exact.

It's been nearly three years since Crystal Dynamics released Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 2018.

Not everyone has that kind of cash kicking around, but Microsoft thought the deal worth it to ensure Tomb Raider's console exclusivity on Xbox when it was rebooted.

It isn't often that the financial side of exclusivity deals are revealed to the public. Sometimes they are, sometimes they're not, sometimes they come to light in a lawsuit, sometimes they appear in an entirely unexpected place. This last one was the case here, where the figure was referred to on the LinkedIn profile of a former Square Enix executive.

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Courtesy of current CREY Games CEO Fabien Rossini, we now know that the Tomb Raider reboot's exclusivity deal was valued at $100 million. This deal ensured that Rise of the Tomb Raider would spend one year only on Xbox, before making a delayed release on PlayStation.

At the time - we're speaking 2015 - this sparked no small amount of grumbling among Lara Croft's fans, as the intrepid adventurer had a long history on Sony platforms.

The foundation of this timed exclusivity deal was laid back when the annoyingly not subtitled Tomb Raider (2013) was in development. With a legendarily tough production period, publisher Square Enix and developer Crystal Dynamics clashed internally on a constant basis regarding the project. Microsoft, which already had a healthy relationship with the companies, heartily supported the vision for the reboot and was instrumental in turning it into reality.

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Impressive credentials, that's to be sure.

With this groundwork, it wasn't hard to conceive of a formal deal for the sequel. $100 million is a huge amount of money, especially when we consider that this was just for a one-year deal, rather than lasting console exclusivity. Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider launched on PC as well as consoles, and were eventually followed up by the third reboot installment, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

If you ever want to secure an exclusivity deal for Tomb Raider, you now know what kind of ballpark figure to save up. Time to get a big piggy bank!

Aron Gerencser
Gaming at least as long as he's been walking, Aron is a fan of all things sci-fi and lover of RPGs. Having written about games for years, he's right at home reporting most of the breaking news in the industry and covering the happenings of the e-sports world. When not writing, editing or playing, you can find Aron on Facebook.