I think you're underestimating the price difference.
On the one hand, it's a victory for consumer rights. On the other hand, it's clear exactly which team they're playing for and whose rights they prioritize first. It's great from a competition standpoint. You're right that the hardcore gamers are a subset, and the average dude won't care about the backpedaling or messaging, but they WILL care very much about the $100 difference in price.
As I said early, for me having only played maybe 2-3 games on my XB and XB360, I will definitely not be buying this console. They could price it the same as Sony and give me free cupcakes every time I turn it on (which, if 360 is any indication, would be once a year) and I still wouldn't want it. There is nothing in the lineup that interests me, and between the product messaging and the 360's complete dearth of RPGs (because most RPGs aren't the CoD-level jillion-selling cash-cows that Microsoft and their corporate publisher pals are desperate for) suggests to me that the case will be no different this time.
Nonetheless, them dropping some of these restrictions is absolutely a good thing, and I'm pleased that they went this route, even if it was very begrudgingly.