LOS ANGELES -- With the dust all but settled, E3 2014 has given both Microsoft and Sony a chance to outline their respective plans for the next 12 months and beyond.
As a consumer, there's a much better sense of what's to come, perhaps making the decision of which next-generation console to go with that much easier.
Here's a quick rundown of the highlights from each camp:
- Xbox One is now priced the same as PlayStation 4, though at $400 it ships without Kinect.
- There is no more "Gold tax," meaning Xbox Live Gold is no longer required for media-streaming or other apps.
- Notable 2014 exclusive releases: Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Killer Instinct: Season 2 and Ori and the Blind Forest.
- Notable 2015 and beyond releases: Halo 5: Guardians, Scalebound, Phantom Dust, Quantum Break and Crackdown.
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players will get DLC first on Xbox One. Evolve, Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Division will also get content first on Xbox One.
- Microsoft's independent gaming offerings are beginning to beef up with the ID@Xbox program.
- , Sony's game streaming service that will start with 100 PS3 games, will enter a beta July 31 and go live later this year. No pricing has been announced for that yet.
- Notable 2014 exclusive releases: The Last of Us Remastered, Entwined, Driveclub, and LittleBigPlanet 3.
- Notable 2015 and beyond releases: The Order: 1886, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Bloodborne, Grim Fandango (remake), Let it Die, and No Man's Sky.
- Notable independent titles are hitting in 2014, including: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Broforce, Titan Souls, Not a Hero, and The Talos Principle
- Sony has secured early access betas and/or content for games like Battlefield Hardline, Destiny, Far Cry 4, Dead Island 2, and Batman: Arkham Knight.
- will hit later this year for $99 and let PS4 owners stream gameplay to any TV within their home network, and play Vita card games and PlayStation Now titles with a DualShock 3.
If games are your number one deciding factor, it's tough to argue with the advantage Sony has -- not just with the edge in exclusives down the road, but the amount of early beta access and unique "only on PS4" content deals they were able to secure with a smattering of multi-platform games.
Sony's messaging this year was that games play better on PS4. And while that first might hit you as marketing spin, I can't say much that would refute that claim judging from the amount of multi-platform game comparisons I've done with Xbox One and PS4. I'll be updating theand reviews in the coming weeks to better reflect this post-E3 2014 landscape.