Here's the good news for gamers: Your next-gen home console will be not so much an engine for playing games, but a conduit for receiving them. Proliferating high-speed broadband and cloud computing means instant, always-on gaming (not to mention increased security and revenue for publishers). The days of beefy home hardware are over, and that's why Microsoft will win the next generation.
See, Microsoft's a bit dim when it comes to hardware. Lucky for Microsoft, it arguably does software better than anyone else in the world. Yes, there's the House of Halo at 343 Industries and the promising Black Tusk Studios up in Vancouver, so we know the exclusives will be there. But it's the nerdy stuff--firmware, netcode, and all those other unseen moving bits and wobbles--that will give Microsoft the edge. Plus, with Windows 8, Microsoft finally seems to have cracked the elusive Live Anywhere nut. If there's one trend that's going to hold true for a while, it's that gamers want their everything, everywhere, all the time. In that respect, Microsoft will deliver.