Microsoft and Sony were very careful to announce ‘no new hardware’ before E3, and stuck to that promise. Nothing shown at either of their press events was for anything other than the devices that are already out on the market. The closest thing Xbox has to hardware launch right now is a Windows 8 tablet running Smart Glass.
But other publishers show games too.
Ubisoft wowed audiences and critics with a demo of Watch Dogs. Graphically amazing, but also implying a depth of gameplay and sandbox options above and beyond what their own Assassin’s Creed series is capable of. The demo was played on stage using an Xbox 360 controller, but Ubisoft confirmed later that it was a PC version of the game we’d seen.
Ubisoft clearly has a hit on their hands, and usually a game like this gets showcased at a hardware maker’s show. Why would Microsoft pass on Watch Dogs and take Splinter Cell? Easy, Splinter Cell shows a game running on XBox 360, and Watch Dogs won’t look like the demo we saw on Xbox 360.
Ubisoft says the release date for Watch Dogs is beyond 2012. If new hardware (aside from Wii U) does launch in 2013, Watch Dogs could be an important launch title. We’ve been assured that the game will come out on PS3 and XBox 360, but it isn’t hard to think back to 2005/2006 when games like Tomb Raider Legend and Gun launched on PS2 and Xbox with HD versions on PS3 and Xbox 360.