Sony's $399 price point for the PlayStation 4 was one of several advantages it touted over Microsoft at E3. But Microsoft's Don Mattrick argues the Xbox One's $499 cost is, if anything, on the low side. "It's a lower number than some of the analysts had forecast," Mattrick told Bloomberg TV. "We're over-delivering value against other choices I think consumers can get. Any modern product these days, you look at it: $499 isn't a ridiculous price point. We're delivering thousands of dollars of value to people, and I think they're going to love it when they use it."

Discussing the Xbox One's virtues, Mattrick leaned heavily on the services it could provide, including access to the Xbox Live network and "living room" options like better TV integration or Skype communication. Sony's most radical addition to the PlayStation 4 is likely its Gaikai-based streaming technology, but that wasn't on display at E3, and Sony has positioned the PS4 as a simpler box for gamers who want better specs but the same basic feature set.

Some years back, Microsoft and Sony's positions were reversed: the Xbox 360 sold for $399, while the PlayStation 3 started at $499. Then-president Ken Kutaragi said Sony wanted "people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else," suggesting that they would want to "work more hours to buy one." Microsoft hasn't approached that level of hubris, but since neither console even has a hard release date, it also hasn't yet tested the claim that people will prefer its "devices and services" model.