Microsoft E3 Press Conference
Phil Spencer takes centre stage in LA's Galen CenterReuters

The idea that any one company can 'win' E3 is reductive and demeans the efforts of whatever side is thought of as the loser.

That's not to say that some companies don't do better than others, in fact that's regularly the case. Last year was a prime example, with Microsoft deciding that shooting themselves once in the foot with their Xbox One reveal wasn't enough, and that they should do it a couple more times just to be sure.

Sony's strategy wasn't really a strategy at all, they had no DRM and – at the time – no real aspirations of breaking into television with the PlayStation 4. They 'won' because they weren't Microsoft, "You see those guys with all the things you hate? We have none of that stuff, and here's a few games, YAY!"

Halo Master Chief Collection
Halo: The Master Chief Collection was a big reveal at Microsoft's event

A year is a long time however and in the 12 months since Don Mattrick became the fall guy for Xbox One's pre-launch failure, the Xbox division has back-peddled at startling speed – culminating in the announcement of new bundle without the Kinect camera that was once sold as an integral part of 'console experience'.

Microsoft's E3 press briefing this year may not have blown anyone away, but it was exactly what they needed; an emphatic exclamation point on a simple declaration: "We're back!"

For Microsoft and the Xbox One to have turned things around so quickly is a huge deal, and livens up the console race no end. In bringing a new Platinum Games title (Scalebound) to the console, they will surely entice the diehard fans of that studio, and a number of exclusives including Sunset Overdrive and Fable Legends impressed with their showings.

A renewed focus on indie games has also helped. Inside, a follow-up to indie darling Limbo from Danish developer Playdead is a big coup and hit mobile puzzler Threes – while a strange addition – shows the breadth of what they want to bring to their console's downloadable repertoire.

This isn't a Microsoft puff-piece though. Sony's conference was on par, perhaps even a little bit better, with the announcements of Bloodborne from From Sotware, Little Big Planet 3 and temporary console exclusivity for No Man's Sky all winning acclaim.

It is the fact it was so close that makes Microsoft's resurgence all the more interesting and worthy of note. In the last console cycle Sony refused to learn from their mistakes with the PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 ran away with success. It wasn't until years after launch that Sony pulled things back.

Microsoft by comparison has wasted no time, and the winners won't just be Xbox One owners but PlayStation 4 owners too, as both companies try to do best by their audience.

As new Xbox head Phil Spencer – the architect of Microsoft's gaming revival – put it in the opening monologue of their show: "This week we share a common purpose with our friends at Sony, Nintendo and the developers and publishers in our industry. That purpose is to showcase the passion, creativity and potential behind the fastest growing form of entertainment in the world - games."

A console race fought with respect and a recognition of togetherness as an industry would make a welcome change, but better still is a console race fought between neck-and-neck combatants. Microsoft are catching up on Sony fast, and it's the industry which will ultimately win.