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Sony Corporation (ADR) (SNE) Won the Battle, But Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Can Still Win the War

Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) is ripping a page out of the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) playbook, attacking Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to make a point.

It may not have hired Justin Long and John Hodgman to roll out “I’m a Mac” ads, but it’s doing something even more sneaky by hitting Mr. Softy below the belt.

Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)

Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) has been the unexpected star of this week’s E3 expo. It not only moved to price its upcoming PS4 for $100 less than Microsoft’s Xbox One, but it’s laying into Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s requirements that gamers perform periodic online check-ins to validate game ownership. It’s also making it easier for gamers to trade in used games.

“PlayStation 4 won’t impose any new restrictions on used PS4 games,” Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) Computer Entertainment of America head Jack Tretton said to thunderous gamer applause.

“When a gamer buys a PS4 disc, they have the rights to use that copy of the game,” he continued. “They can trade in the game at retail, sell it to another person, lend it to a friend, or keep it forever.”

More thunderous applause.

GameStop Corp. (NYSE:GME) shares rallied — sending the shares 8% higher on Tuesday — before giving back nearly half of those gains on Wednesday. GameStop is the biggest beneficiary of a vibrant used-game market, and Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE)’s news was sweet.

At the moment, it seems as if Microsoft’s Xbox One is toast. Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) just delivered what gamers want to hear. However, isn’t Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) delivering what developers want to hear?

Requiring online connections will make it easier to sell games directly to players. The same Web-tethering requirement will make it easier to sell virtual items and additional levels. The ability for publishers to dictate whether or not they want their games to be resold will result in no lost revenue to secondhand transactions.

Gamers will want Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) to succeed this Christmas. Publishers and developers will want Microsoft to be the victor.

The normal inclination is to hand the crown for the next generation from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to Sony. Gamers are the ones who buy the systems, and they are cheering Sony Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:SNE) on this week. However, we really haven’t let publishers cast their votes.