As a six-year E3 veteran, I've seen it all--from the moneyed excess of the Sony party to the yearly appearance by the Scottish development community. That being said, I was still not prepared for a $600 PlayStation 3. Tossing in that little bon mot at the end of a two-hour press conference, just before the lights came up, was akin to calling your parents from school, engaging in some idle chitchat, than throwing out, "Oh, I almost forgot, I just flunked out of college," before quickly hanging up the phone.
Still, with about 67 percent of the global console market currently under its control, it's way too early to count Sony out. Although the first generation of PS3 games on display didn't show it, having the most powerful console hardware, plus Blu-ray and a standard hard drive, could lead to some very impressive games next year.
Nintendo, on the other hand, acquitted itself quite well, showing off a surprisingly functional Wii console, along with dozens of games and generous hands-on time for all involved. If the price point is right, as more than one commentator pointed out, you could buy both an Xbox 360 and a Wii for the price of a PS3.
Microsoft also managed to avoid looking like a third wheel at the new console party by showing off some exceptionally strong works in progress for the Xbox 360. Most people I talked to at the show pointed to BioShock or Gears of War as their best-of-show, both 360-console exclusives.