The games world was, not for the first time, thrown into confusion, anger, confused anger and bewilderment this week, after Microsoft claimed to have some sort of "exclusive" on the next Tomb Raider game.
There then followed some meetings and interviews in which it turned out it might not be exclusive to Xbox One. It might be exclusive to Xbox One and Xbox 360, as in, exclusive to the Xbox brotherhood. And just for Christmas. And maybe a while after. And how long is a while?
This sort of baffling marketing mirage worked well a decade or two ago, back when news was news and that was that and there was no subsequent forensic analysis of every word presented by every corporation.
Nowadays, you can't get away with masking the facts for more than 30 seconds before the truthers dig out the secret hidden meaning of every skewed announcement and reveal it along with an animated GIF summary of the scandal. As they did this week, much to the embarrassment of Microsoft and developer Square Enix.
On Polygon, reader WalkingP thinks the enforced delay in releasing the next Tomb Raider on non-X formats might be a good deal for PS4 owners, as Xbox buyers will effectively work as a mass of reviewers. He said: "With the game being released for the Xbox One first, all of the game reviewers will get a chance to play and review it, thus giving PlayStation owners the chance to read the reviews and decide if it's a day-one purchase for them. If the reviews are just mediocre, there may be a lot of people who just wait on the price drop and buy it."
There are people who don't wait six months after release to buy everything for £17.99?
In reply, WalkingP found a friend in VisjeBliep, who said: "It's also likely a lot of the initial release bugs will be solved for the other platforms when the game does eventually does launch there."
But that's not good enough. VisjeBliep continued: "However, just out of spite I will not be picking up this game. I hate it when games are delayed for non-technical or game-related reasons."
Bet you will. When it's £17.99 and if all those Xbox buyers gave Lara's latest virtual hair a good score for glossiness and bounce.
Ars Technica reader Silellak summarised the feeling that we've been had, saying: "I can understand why some people feel betrayed, as I think there's a difference between securing a brand-new IP like Sunset Overdrive, and making the sequel of a successful multi-platform game (a game which, apparently, sold better on the PlayStation) available exclusively on the Xbox. At the end of that day, though, that's business, and Crystal Dynamics must have been written a pretty huge check to both make the game exclusive and potentially alienate any number of fans."
That comment was made in the gap between the game being announced and thought of as a proper "exclusive" and before it was embarrassingly relegated to "timed exclusive" status. Several tens of Xbox Ones may have been sold due to false/misunderstood promises during that time frame.
Commenter Chuck Knucka broke it down into simpler layman terms, posting: "While the last Tomb Raider was certainly fun, it's not the kind of game I'm drooling to play. And even though this exclusivity doesn't affect me very much, I still despise the tactic. It's clearly not done with the consumer in mind. If there's anything that makes me think that Microsoft and Square Enix think we are all just walking wallets, it's this."
On PC Gamer, the PC hardcore were, as you might expect, not entirely bothered by Microsoft's petty console manoeuvrings. Reader DatFalkn captured the dismissive feelings well with: "Loved the first game on PC. Hyped for the 2nd since E3. I'm not going to buy a $400 console just to play it. RIP."
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