While there are no actual 'winners' or 'losers' really - both consoles will go on to find huge and successful fan bases - it seems to me Microsoft has come out of GamesCom in a far greater, and stronger, position than what it had before it went into it.
Bundling FIFA 14 with every Xbox One in Europe was a stroke of genius - even if it'll be available on the current-generation before then - and the console's showcase of games are all more impressive than they were at E3 (as you may expect). Forza remains the jewel in the launch window's crown, Titanfall, although out next year, is positioning itself to be a critical and commerical darling, whereas Dead Rising 3 (frame rate aside), and even Kinect Sports: Rivals are all making very good cases as to why Microsoft's new machine is a worthy investment. Even those not at blockbuster level are still solid, and, seemingly, improving as the days count down to release. Could the Xbox One use a couple more triple-A titles for day one? Most definitely, but the seeds are slowly being planted as to what the future holds.
It's not that Sony had a bad show, either. Its conference, while slow, underlined its dedication to the indie scene, and it remains the cheaper of the two. The games, however, still don't carry any weight of excitement with me. Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous are more of the same (no bad thing if the franchises have won you over), DriveClub hasn't found its feet yet, and Knack... well... screw Knack*.
Obviously if the back and forth dance Microsoft has been doing since the Xbox One's announcement has left you baffled or cold to the console, I doubt there's anything that happened over the last week that altered such a stance, and why should it? For those on the fence, though, or those who were happy to wait and see where the company would finally lay its foundations, the Xbox One is a much more attractive package than it was a few months ago (even if I still stand by my opinion that its original form would've benefited us a lot more).
There's more to the 360's successor now, too, most notably its ability to be used as a development tool for would-be and current designers. While the past is enough to make you question how Microsoft will see this through (it would not surprise me if some people never discovered the Indie Store on 360), and there is a registration process to get accepted into the [email protected] programme, it's a far cry from E3 where the message to many was 'Sony cares about the independent scene. Microsoft doesn't'.
Even the addition of Kinect doesn't seem as heinous as it did to some back in May. Games like Kinect Sports: Rivals prove that the new sensor is a class apart from what came before it. The idea of motion control may still be an iffy one, but if you're going to do it, I don't think it's been done better than what was being showcased at GamesCom 2013.
The battle lines will continue to be drawn well into November, and ultimately there is no right or wrong choice. Most people's guts will have already told them which console to lean towards and why. In terms of public perception, however, Microsoft has spent the last 5 days doing a great job in winning a lot of people back.
*This is a joke. While I'm sure Knack is a very good game, it's not for me.