Online play is where gaming (console or not) is headed. People want to play with other people and their friends. Geeks may be anti-social, but on the whole we’re a social species. World of Warcraft and Everquest have proven that.
Nintendo has recognized.
Q: A few years ago, Nintendo made a conscious decision to lie low when Microsoft introduced Xbox Live and began promoting its subscription online gaming service. In retrospect, does that look like a good decision?
A: I wasn’t here. What I can tell you is the way we’ve approached online play now is really with a view to the masses. With Nintendo DS (a dual-screen handheld player), for example, we offer free Internet play in a wide-ranging series of games. Our focus is getting as many consumers to enjoy that online experience as possible. And we’ve done that.
Seriously, this is the way it should be. Subscriptions are a sucker game that consumers end up at the short end of the stick on. Keep it free.