Air tight non-disclosure agreements means that developers and publishers are not even allowed to acknowledge the existence of the next Xbox console. Yet since February at least three major publishers have directly alluded to their forthcoming games being released on Microsoft’s newest console. Are these accidents or have Microsoft authorised them to do this?
It was always expected that the first next-gen console to be revealed would be the new Xbox. Sony CEO Kaz Hirai told The Times “why go first when your competitors can look at your specifications and come up with something better?”
So back in January when Sony announced they would be holding a PlayStation Event press conference it took everybody by surprise; gamers, the press and apparently Microsoft. A Sony official told CVG the PS4 reveal “caught Microsoft off-guard.” “We definitely ruffled some feathers.”
What this meant was that numerous third-party publishers who were developing games in secret for the PlayStation 4 could come out in the open and reveal their games are being released on the PS4 and start to build hype for their next-gen titles on the PS4 – a PR coup for Sony. At the event Activision came out and said Destiny is coming to PS4. Ubisoft said that Watch_Dogs is coming to PS4 and Square-Enix said… that an unnamed Final Fantasy is coming to PS4.
From Microsoft’s perspective there is a danger that until they officially reveal their new Xbox all this talk of next-gen games coming to the PlayStation 4 could give the console preferential media coverage and these next-gen games become associated with the PS4 by consumers. Until Microsoft is ready to reveal the new Xbox they have to combat this. Before the PS4 reveal there was no official mention of games being released on next-gen platforms. But since the PS4 announcement several publishers have revealed their games are coming to ‘next-gen’ consoles.
Activision have said Destiny is coming to “future generation technology.”
On Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag it says “also coming to next generation consoles.”
Eidos Montreal in their exclusive reveal of Thief to Game Informer have underlined that the game is coming to “PS4 and PC sometime in 2014, but the game is also planned for other next-gen consoles.” Recently EA showed Battlefield 4 to retail partners and told them it is coming to next-gen platforms.
Of course these major publishers are making games for the next Xbox, but NDAs are ordinarily so tight that they would be breaching their contracts to even allude to its existence. What is most likely to have happened is that Microsoft have authorised these publishers to do this so that the gaming press and public never forget that all these next-gen games that are coming to the PlayStation 4 will also be coming to the next Xbox.