Sony was clearly in command following E3 when Microsoft announced its strict DRM policy that barred used game sales and required Xbox One consoles to connect to the internet once every 24 hours.
The backlash was immediate. Gamers made it clear that physical copies of games should be theirs to own and resell as before.
Likewise, they felt as if offline gaming should be possible, especially if ISPs or Microsoft's servers go down. It has happened before and will likely happen again.
That's why Microsoft reverted its policy, sticking to the Xbox 360 method of handling DRM while also getting rid of benefits like the ability to share your Xbox One games with other consoles.
PS4 and Xbox One will function like they did in the PS3 and Xbox 360 era, which is the one area in which gamers are happy to hear hasn't been "upgraded."
Both Microsoft and Sony went with very box-like designs for their next-generation consoles.
The Xbox One literally put the box in Xbox, with a large black rectangular shape that has been compared to an oversized 80s VCR unit.
The only thing adoring the front is a slot-loading Blu-ray disc drive, while almost all of the cable hookups are in the back, including the HDMI input port for Live TV, something the PS4 doesn't have.
When Sony finally unveiled what the PS4 looked like at E3, it reminded everyone in the audience of the PS2 design. The stand - not included - really drove that point home.
PS4 is smaller in size compared to the Xbox One and a little bit sleeker thanks to its angular shape and two-halves design.
The Xbox One and PS4 console designs aren't game changers, especially compared to the more dynamic-looking previous generation of consoles.
But as a teacher may have once told you, beauty is on the inside.
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While Microsoft amended its always-online policy, the company has yet to backtrack on its other controversial E3-timed announcement: the higher Xbox One price.
Xbox One will cost $499 in the U.S., £429 in the U.K. and $599 in Australia, a premium because it comes with the 1080p Kinect camera out of the box.
The PS4 will cost $399 in the U.S., £349 in the U.K., €399 in Europe and $549 in Australia sans the PS4 camera, previously known as the PlayStation 4 Eye.
Separately, the PS4 camera will cost $59 in the U.S., £54 in the U.K., and $99 in Australia, so PlayStation 4 is still cheaper even when the console and camera are combined.
With wallets tighter than ever, Sony may have a distinct advantage this holiday season.
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The PS4 and Xbox One finally have release dates, with the PS4 launch date happening first on Friday, Nov. 15 in North America, then again on Friday, Nov. 29 in Europe and Australia.
The Xbox One launches in 13 markets, down from the previously promised 21 regions, on Friday, Nov. 22.
Unlike Sony's split PS4 release date, Microsoft is putting all of its attention on Nov. 22 in North America, most of Europe, Australia and New Zealand. This "global launch" could certainly help the hype factor.
But Sony has a distinct advantage of initially releasing one week ahead of Xbox One and two weeks ahead of Black Friday, the major holiday sales day in the U.S. At least both systems will be out in North America before Black Friday begins.
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Agreeing on an AMD CPU
As much as the two warring systems are different, the heart of the Xbox One and the PS4 remain very similar.
That's because they're both running x86 octa-core CPUs, and these eight-core processors are built by the same chipmaker, AMD.
The use of AMD in the Xbox One and PS4 is certainly a switch for both companies.
Previously, Microsoft had used an IBM PowerPC processor, while Sony partnered with Toshiba and IBM on its own complicated Cell processor that developers didn't warm up to.
While the Xbox One will run a heavily modified eight-core AMD processor, PS4 will utilize a x86-64 "Jaguar" CPU.
AMD's Graphics Core Next
Both console makers are also relying on AMD to design their next graphics processors that will produce the next-generation visuals that differentiate console games from the emerging smartphone market.
The Xbox One marries its GPU to the CPU in a system-on-a-chip design, according to Wired, with DirectX 11.1 support.
The single 40-nanometer SoC really contrasts with the two dedicated 90-nm chips found in the Xbox 360.
However, it only marginally contrasts with the PS4, which also combines its AMD CPU with the chip maker's GPU.
In the case of PS4, the graphics processor is described as semi-custom AMD Radeon that runs at 1.8 TFLOPS.
Does Sony really scores 8GB GDDR5 RAM?
One of the most impressive things about the PS4 specs has been its use of 8GB GDDR5 RAM.
Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One to have 8GB RAM as well, but it's DDR3 memory variety.
That may mean more to game developers in the long run as opposed to gamers themselves right now, but it's still an interesting choice for the Xbox One.
Further complicating this memory game is the fact that each console requires a portion of the RAM to run the operating system.
PS4 reserves up to 3.5GB of memory for the OS, leaving developers with 4.5GB, according to documentation. They can sometimes access an extra 1GB of "flexible" memory when it's available, but it's not guaranteed.
Xbox One's "guaranteed memory" amounts to a slightly higher 5GB for developers, as the OS takes up 3GB, which probably doesn't make up for the DDR3 memory usage for most developers.
Which has the better controller?
The Xbox One controller vs the PS4 DualShock 4 controller is a debate that won't be won anytime soon, mostly because gamers' already have a locked-in preference.
The reason for this is that neither Sony nor Microsoft have radically changed their respective controllers over the years - they're more like evolutions from 2000 and 2001.
The DualShock 4 is a little bigger in the next-generation thanks to its unique front-and-center touchpad. Sony stuck with the dual analog sticks down in front, but at least have a central divot recess for easier gripping.
Microsoft also didn't mess with success, only slightly modifying its controller in the jump to the Xbox One. It's 40 design innovations are subtle, including the tweaked D-Pad on the bottom-left of the game pad and extra rumble features.
In testing the two controllers at E3 2013, Sony's DualShock 4 felt leaps-and-bounds better than the PS3 DualShock 3 controller, however, it was only catching up to comfort already provided by the Xbox 360 and now Xbox One gamepads.
Xbox One Kinect vs PS4 Eye
While Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will appeal to "core" gamers with mature launch titles, as evidenced by the strictly motion-less E3 lineup from Microsoft and Sony.
However, behind-the-scenes, the two companies are charging forward with motion-sensing games thanks to the Xbox One Kinect and PS4 Camera.
Microsoft designed the 1080p Kinect to track up to six skeletons for immerse video game effects that the company says is "human control for a human experience."
Expanding on that motto, the packed-in Kinect 2.0 will be able to process 2GB of data per second, analyzing more joints, the slight rotation of a wrist or shoulder and your heartbeat.
The PlayStation Eye, which will not come with the PS4 system, features two 1280×800px cameras inside a similarly shaped camera bar.
In addition to human interaction, the DualShock 4 controller will come into play with the PS4 camera thanks to its multi-colored light bar. It will also be compatible with those PS4 Move motion controllers that have gone unused.
More than the subtle differences in specs, the games that result from those specs is what will determine which console gamers choose this fall.
Xbox One launch games include exclusives like Ryse: Son of Rome, Dead Rising 3, Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, LocoCycle and Kinect Sports Rivals.
Also on day one is Call of Duty: Ghosts. It's not exclusive to Xbox One, but the downloadable content (DLC) is going to be a timed-exclusive (likely a month) for Xbox One gamers.
Further out, notable Xbox One launch windows games are Titanfall (likely another timed-exclusive for a year) , Project Spark, and Minecraft: Xbox One Edition.
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PS4 Launch Games
Sony is also stacking its PS4 launch game lineup with Killzone Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Knack and Diablo 3, all exclusives releasing on day one.
Joining those games whenever the PS4 launch date happens to be will be Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag from Ubisoft.
Yes, both of these highly anticipated games are also releasing on Xbox One, but PS4 (and PS3) gamers are going to see an extra hour of gameplay for each.
Sony was also showing off PS4 games like inFamous: Second Son, The Witness and The Order 1886 at E3.
Really, though, everyone is waiting to see what Naughty Dog has in store - possibly Uncharted 4 - and its stable of other first-party developers like SCE London Studio and Media Molecule.
Here's another split decision: Sony got out in front by supporting independent game developers, attracting names like Supergiant Games, Red Barrels Studio, and Young Horses at the time of its E3 press conference.
At first, Microsoft maintained that Xbox One games would require be fronted by a publisher. That changed recently when he company did another 180, announcing that not only would it allow self-publishing, every console acts as a dev kit.
A free dev kit sounds appealing, especially when PS4 developer kits cost thousands of dollars.
Sony has the indie developer crowd right now, but such pricey technology for tomorrow's basement-run teams could decrease the company's indie following over time.
The look of the console, the feel of the controller and the way the games make you feel make up the main differences from which consumers will decide.
However, there are smaller factors potential PS4 and Xbox One buyers should consider when going to the store this holiday season.
It's a good idea to converse with friends to know which system they're going to buy. Since there's no such thing as cross-platform multiplayer, you may be split up when playing Call of Duty on PS4 when all of your friends own it for Xbox One.
Both Microsoft and Sony are charging for multiplayer this generation, whereas PS3 gamers got to log into matches scott-free.
However, only Microsoft is going to lock apps behind its Xbox Live paywall. Sony has confirmed that streaming video content like Netflix, Hulu Plus and MLB.TV on PS4 won't require a PlayStation Plus subscription.
Next-generation console buyers who don't plan on paying the yearly fee and do plan on using the system for entertainment purposes may want to weigh that into their final decision.