Microsoft signed an exclusivity deal for Rise of the Tomb Raider because it needed an action-adventure title to pit against Sony’s next Uncharted game, says Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

Speaking with Eurogamer, Spencer freely admitted that his company needed a game to rival Naughty Dog’s treasure hunter epic.

“I'm a big fan of Uncharted and I wish we had an action adventure game of that ilk,” said Spencer.

“We've started some, and we've looked at them. But we don't have one today of that quality. This is an opportunity.

“People push me as the content guy, shouldn't it all be about the content you're building? I want to own all of the hits on our platform,” he added.

“Well, not all of them - that's too much. But I want to have a stable of hits on our platform that we own. Absolutely. That's fundamental to us having a successful platform. When a unique opportunity comes up, I've got to go look at that. And this was a unique opportunity.”

Microsoft triggered an outcry last week when it announced Rise of the Tomb Raider was an Xbox exclusive, before admitting the next day that it was merely a timed exclusive.

“But yeah, when you think about our portfolio, if it was a sci-fi shooter, I probably wouldn't do that! I've got one of those!” said Spencer.

“Or if it's a Gears competitor, or a Forza competitor, there are things I wouldn't go after. But this is one that clearly fit in our portfolio really well.

“I knew there would be some push back when we came out. Certain people won't believe this: it doesn't come from an evil space. It comes from a space where there's an opportunity that maps really well with what we need in terms of the genre, and a partner that's looking for a partnership,” he added.

“Other people can do the deal, but it was a deal that fit well with us. And I think it could help the franchise in the long run and help Crystal and Square and us.”

The console gaming business only stays healthy if people are making money, so studios like Crystal have to take advantage of opportunities, said Spencer.

“I don't know that all the press get that. Or all the community. Maybe they shouldn't have to. But when people start saying, somebody sold out this or sold out that, it's not an easy business to be in," he said.

“This whole thing that, like, we just somehow found something that Sony fans love and said, ‘Hey, if we just drop millions of dollars then they can’t go play the game.’ That’s not how it played out.”