In the case of Sony it is racking up a string of negative press. GameIndustry.biz handed Sony a default loss for its showing at GC Developer Conference this year. Either Sony was too busy gearing up for the Tokyo Game Show in a few weeks or felt it more prudent given its run of negative press to stay quiet.
GI justified the loss in the Sony column by saying, "There was no Sony conference in Leipzig this week, and the only announcement to emerge was a desultory ten pound price cut to the PlayStation 2, a console which was already being unofficially discounted by many retailers anyway."
Microsoft went on to claim, "Xbox 360 owns football". This of course means that for the next twelve months the Xbox 360 system will be the only next-gen platform with FIFA or Pro Evolution Soccer. I guess for those outside of the US this is kind of a big deal. In no way is this a reflection on Microsoft's prowess at locking up exclusive deals, rather developers will not have enough hands on time with the Nintendo and Sony next-gen systems to release a football game until sometime 2007. GI also tempers the Microsoft coup by saying, " Sports gamers by and large tend towards the casual end of the spectrum, and there is probably minimal cross-over between the demographic which wants a new FIFA game and the demographic which is prepared to pay over 400 pounds [for a new system]".
Not that any of this really means anything. People like myself will take out a second mortgage and buy all three systems. However the majority of gamers will buy the system that plays the games they like. The real contest will be convincing the developers. At E3 nearly every AAA next-gen title I was fortunate enough to get my hands on appeared to be running on a PS3esque machine. I couldn't REALLY tell since I was chaperoned by some PR shill and the hardware was hidden from view. Sony has a lot of momentum and it is going to take a lot of bumbling to mess that up.