Let the games begin.
The unveiling of Sony's PlayStation 4 on Nov. 15 and Microsoft's Xbox One on Nov. 22 doesn't just mark a new console cycle but is a new start of sorts for the companies: The former is trying to right the ship after years of losses, while the latter is moving to expand its empire beyond the PC desktop.
"The launches are of extremely high strategic importance to both of them, but for different reasons," said P.J. McNealy, founder of Digital World Research. "Sony as a corporation is looking for a new product line to breath life into the brand—and the PS4 has a chance to do that. For Microsoft, the Xbox One launch is the anchor to try to grab consumer mind-set as part of a bigger approach with tablets and phones."
(Read more: A jolly holiday for video games in store)