Eidos Interactive has announced that their upcoming game, Tomb Raider: Anniversary will be the first ever full retail game to be serialized through Xbox Live Marketplace. The game will be split into four episodes, with episodes 1 & 2 available in September, and episodes 3 & 4 following “shortly afterwards”. All the episodes will total 2400 Live points, which I think equals $30? Stupid point system.
You know there’s a catch, though. The episodes will require the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Legend disc to play, so this nifty little distribution is only for owners of the previous Xbox 360 title. D’oh! Happily, a full retail version of the game is planned for later in the year, just in case you didn’t buy that steaming pile of crap that was Legend. Read on for the full press release.
Eidos Interactive Ltd., part of SCi Entertainment Group, one of the world’s leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, is pleased to announce that the latest Lara Croft adventure, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, will be released on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, initially in the form of downloadable episodic content which will be available for purchase to owners of Tomb Raider Legend on Xbox 360.
This is the first time ever that the serialization of a full retail game will be available for purchase through Xbox Live® Marketplace. The game will be available in four episodes; Episodes 1 & 2 will be available in September, with the next two episodes arriving shortly afterwards. A full retail version is planned to be released for Xbox 360 later in the year.
“We have created this version of Anniversary specifically for digital distribution as episodic content. This is part of our strategy to grow our presence in online and digital distribution as we believe there are huge growth opportunities arising from this delivery format and we intend to capitalize on the increasing demand for digitally downloaded content,” said Jane Cavanagh, Chief Executive, Eidos. “Lara has always been at the forefront of technology and this world first initiative with Microsoft really highlights that fact. Ultimately we also intend to make the title available at retail so that it reaches the maximum possible audience.”
“We’re continuing to break new ground in getting incredible gaming experiences in the hands of consumers,” said George Peckham, General Manager of 3rd Party Publishing, Xbox, Microsoft. “We’re excited to be able to deliver one of the most well-recognized franchises in video game history with Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary to our more than six million Xbox Live members worldwide in the form of episodic content.”
The market for digital download of core PC and console games is expected to exceed $289 million by 2010, with Games on Demand services topping $104 million (ScreenDigest). Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming network can already boast over 2.3 billion hours of online gaming (this is equal to 95 million days or over 260,000 years) since its launch in 2004. Xbox 360 owners have activated more than 5 billion points (over $60 million) on marketplace with over 135 million downloads since the launch of Xbox 360 in 2005.
Inspired by the first Tomb Raider videogame, originally released in 1996, LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: ANNIVERSARY is a totally new adventure for Lara, faithfully preserving the elements which made the original Tomb Raider such a classic (selling over 7 million copies worldwide). The Tomb Raider series is still one of the best selling videogame franchises of all time with over 32 million copies sold and two major feature films released, starring Angelina Jolie.
Tomb Raider: Anniversary has also launched on Windows as part of Microsoft’s Games for Windows initiative, offering reliability, compatibility, and full support for play under Windows Vista™.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary will be available on Xbox 360 – episodically – from September. The Games for Windows® and PlayStation 2 versions have now been released worldwide, with both versions currently at No.1 in the UK and Germany in their respective charts, and No.1 in France on PC. A PSP version is due soon and a Nintendo Wii version is in development.
In order to access Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary downloadable episodic content for Xbox 360, players will require a Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend disc. The episodes will cost 2400 Microsoft points for all four episodes, and will be released in two separate launches. Episodes 1 & 2 will be released in September and episodes 3 & 4 will follow shortly afterwards. The Croft Manor level will be free to download with both sets of episodes. Additional Tomb Raider Anniversary downloadable content will also become available for purchase on Marketplace to support the launch of Tomb Raider Episodic such as picture packs and theme packs.