Yesterday's press conferences were for many people a big deal, a fight between to competitors that would stop at nothing to upstage the other. But in reality, it's more of a quarterback matchup. Both companies take turns throwing their best stuff in the air and hoping to score with the press and, of course, us gamers. But they never actually are in the same playing field at the same time. Nintendo walked in first, scoring early and often, then left Sony to try and put some of their own points on the board.
Both companies did well enough. Nintendo gets huge points for showing games that will be available to players within the year or not long after that. Zelda looks to add something to a series that has started to get old and the new versions of Metroid, Donkey Kong and Kirby (looks so pretty!) show that 2D games are not dead yet. For me it seems like the tried and true Nintendo statement of making fun games, while the Sony conference was obviously pushing the graphical envelope with Killzone 3 and Gran Turismo 5.
3D was also handled with the same philosophies in mind. Nintendo going for something affordable that can impact gameplay first, while Sony goes for some eye popping graphic intensity (in most cases). Neither is worse or better, just a different path each company has chosen.
The one thing that puzzled me the most, though, was the focus on the consumer. It seemed to me that Nintendo didn't try and divide the hardcore and casual gamer, as it's recent Mario games have tried to cater to all crowds with it's optional Super Guides and hints. Sony (and Microsoft, for that matter), are very much making a line on the ground with their games and motion devices. Sony even goes as far as saying that PS Move titles will be priced differently than regular games. Again, nothing wrong with that, but it does make me wonder about the thinking that goes behind all these games and announcements.
In the end, I don't feel comfortable thinking that gamers are either/or. They can be both, they can be something else entirely and they can be something new. But time will tell which company gets it right where it counts, with increased sales of their upcoming games and controllers.