EA Isn’t Making Wii U Games: Do You Care?

Electronic Arts just confirmed that it's not designing games for Nintendo's Wii U.

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You’re reading that correctly: Electronic Arts, one of the world’s largest gaming companies with billions in annual revenue, just confirmed that it’s not designing games for Nintendo’s Wii U. Speaking to Kotaku, EA spokesperson Jeff Brown said “We have no games in development for the Wii U currently.” I assume Brown’s talking about this now to soften the reaction when EA showcases its product lineup at E3 next month.

And yes, Brown’s hedging with that word, “currently,” but as we know, original games can take years to bring off. Even ports require significant effort, especially if you have to figure out how to rejigger a game to take advantage of an idiosyncratic peripheral like the Wii U GamePad. If EA truly has nothing in the pipeline for Wii U, you’re looking at a year, probably more, for something — casual, core, family, whatever — to appear, and that’s if EA or one of its subsidiaries signed on to something today.

Remember this? Kotaku did. It’s Ex-EA CEO John Riccitiello, speaking at E3 2011 about the Wii U.

What Nintendo’s new console delivers speaks directly to the players of EA Sports and EA Games. Nintendo’s new console will produce brilliant high-definition graphics and new gameplay opportunities. We look forward to seeing great EA content on this new platform.

How times have changed. While EA has released Wii U games, specifically ports of FIFA 13, Madden 13, Mass Effect 3 and Need for Speed Most Wanted, Brown told Kotaku that those early games were simply EA wrapping up its E3 2011 obligations. (EA confirmed earlier this month that Madden 14 would skip the Wii U this year.)

From a business standpoint, whoever this reflects poorly on (at least one friend’s reaction was “These guys are jerks, man”), it’s bad news for Nintendo. Whatever you think of EA’s games or the company’s business practices overall, it owns some of the industry’s biggest ticket franchises, including Madden, NHL, FIFA, Battlefield, Mass Effect, Need for SpeedDragon Age, The Sims and most recently, the exclusive rights to develop future Star Wars games.

Series like FIFA and Need for Speed have sold over 100 million copies each (across all platforms), with Madden poised to join them. The Sims, EA’s bestselling property — the company’s made three titles in the franchise for the Wii alone — is one of the top sellers in video game history, moving over 150 million units to date. To give those figures a little context, all the Halo games sold to date add up to just over 50 million units sold.

From a gaming standpoint, would EA’s departure from the platform be such a bad thing? If you’re a sports gaming fan and Wii U owner, there’s no workaround here — this is terrible news, and my condolences. But if you don’t routinely snatch up the annual Madden or FIFA or NHL, could you live without stuff like Battlefield, Mass Effect, Dead Space and Dragon Age?

The Wii U’s in a bind lately. While Nintendo didn’t release unit sales for April (NPD’s monthly data rolled out last night), in recent months the system’s been fighting for air, dipping below original Wii sales at points (well behind Microsoft and Sony). The Wii U Deluxe, the only version of the system worth buying, goes for $350, which makes it notably more expensive than the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Whatever any of this says about market softness or the future of console gaming itself — we won’t know for at least another year, looking back at the other next-gen console launches and post-launch numbers — it’s hard to imagine the Wii U surviving without a significant price cut, and soon.

54 comments
bigrack21
bigrack21

Madden has stunk since 2003....    Yes, things can be too complex.  I remember when "you" actually had to catch the ball, break tackles, defend passes and make tackles....  now you just call the play, and the AI does the rest.  LAME.

marty7044
marty7044

"The Wii U Deluxe, the only version of the system worth buying"

Talk about sloppy journalism, stating something as fact when it's just the author's biased opinion.  Target sells the standard model for $239.99.  I personally prefer the White color, I have an external hard drive (32 GB is still too small), and I don't need Nintendoland.  So it makes no sense to have bought the Deluxe model. 

Terrible journalism on your part, Matt Preckam 

YienwaePerezfam-miiz
YienwaePerezfam-miiz

Yes I do care that EA will not be developing a lot of content for the U.  However, with that said, I now hear that they will plan on making content too.  I think it is a big loss for both N and EA if they cannot resolve their business differences.  This is what it's really all about.  It's not about the U's power.   The fact that EA is making next gen games that will be released to both next gen and current gen consoles PS 4 and 3 (as well as XBox One and 360) only proves to me that it's not an issue of the U's power, but there are conflicts behind on the scenes regarding the business relationship between EA and N.

I hope this gets resolved because it's a big loss for both of them.

townfrown
townfrown

ea is just mad cause Nintendo was thinking about letting them do the internet servers for eshop and Nintendo network which would help ea alot! and Nintendo was like where doing it our self they got butt hurt and where like we are not going to make any games for the wii u to get back at them they made madden 2013 and stopped cause it was a release title if u remember the Dreamcast ea did the same thing to them and was a big reason sega isent here today but nintendos got 1.4 trillion in total assets so there here for good and i love my wii u and people will buy it for the games i bought it for like zelda mario metriod smash bros. i just  got it early cause i love nintendo i love playstation and xbox also but they will never be like nintendo a true gaming company that made video games what they are today so show some respect for the big N.

emiller
emiller

Hi All!  Here I am taking a crap and reading this article. Just thought you might want to know.  I love Facebook!

atomixign
atomixign

EA got worse without Riticello.  Just like Totillo said they would. 

Korgoth
Korgoth

I really couldn't care less.  EA hasn't made an interesting game since the early 2000's, with very few exceptions.  Everything I've bought from them in almost a decade has felt like the same game they had before with a shiny coat of paint and the most recent players.

EA has been deliberately making decisions that are bad for the gaming industry, and this is just one more.  The Sim CIty debacle has been the most glaring issue, but their strong arming console makers into using their stupid online system and monopolistic contracts with the major sports leagues and player associations are just more of this.

With their recent pushes in the Android and iOS markets, I wouldn't be surprised if this time next year, EA makes a similar statement about Microsoft's next Xbox and Sony's PS4.

Oh, and I'm loving my Wii U, between ZombiU, MH3U, the Rayman Challenges App, and all the VC games I've downloaded, not to mention the bevy of Indie games, I don't have time to play Mario!

007_1/2
007_1/2

I don't care. I didn't buy a Wii U to play Madden. I bought it to play Mario and that is what I will use my Wii U for.

jcdenton2012
jcdenton2012

And yet another reason to hate EA. Notice that the list of franchises that they own is matched only by the reasons not to buy their products. I don't know what they need more, a better PR Department, or perhaps a better Executive Board. I say this because it is hard to find another commercial entity more despised yet at this point so embedded in the industry that it commands. However, if Nintendo goes down as a result of EA's actions then I would argue that EA might face a possible anti-monopoly lawsuit as a result. This is because as a Publisher it could be argued that EA has enough power to destroy any Developer and therefore streamline the gaming industry along its own lines. Such power, constitutes a monopoly on the industry.

Ima_Sinner
Ima_Sinner

No don't care at all. I don't think I've ever bought but one EA game ever.

toddhaley13
toddhaley13

do i care? not in the slightest bit, i own my wii u for one reason, the amazing games that nintendo is making me wait for... 3rd party games shall be played elsewhere haha

m1cronmega81
m1cronmega81

Don't understand the way they are treating Nintendo? This is all down to Origin? Surely EA haven't stooped that low have they?

rudyseidl
rudyseidl

To answer the article's question, 'do I care?' 

No.  Nintendo is better off.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

I have a long standing grudge against Electronic Arts dating back to their acquisition of Origin and the subsequent demise of the Ultima and Wing Commander franchises. Putting that aside, I am disappointed that certain of their games will not coming to the Wii U but ultimately it doesn't affect my choice of console. I can play most of the EA games that I'm interested in on my PC anyway.

cutdank
cutdank

I'm sad....

Fight Night and Madden are must haves for me.

Unfortunately, EA may force me to trade in the Nintendo and join the Darkside.

JosephCWren
JosephCWren

Two things will happen that will make the Wii U sell without cutting the price.

1.  It's A-list games will come out starting this August.   3D Mario, Mario Kart, Pikmin, etc.

2. the PS4 and 720 are going to be around $500+ so suddenly the Wii U will be the CHEAPEST current system on the market,.

Mikz_Nyc
Mikz_Nyc

@townfrown  Finally somebody gets EA's monopoly and greed for money,Nintendo is a giant in gaming marketing compared to Sony and Microsoft put together,they do have some great games,but Nintendo is here because they can survive without 3rd party support,while Sony and Microsoft would die out within a year,that's marketing 101

blasterman1
blasterman1

@Korgoth I'm sorry but Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect were great.  Most review sites considered Mass Effect 2 the best game that came out that year.  

Korgoth
Korgoth

@blasterman1 You do realize the list of critically acclaimed series from Nintendo is longer then EA's.  This console will last the usual 5 years that every console lasts.  Never count Nintendo out.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

I'd wait to pronounce Nintendo "dead" until after their major titles have been released. If Smash Brothers, Zelda, Metroid, and Mario Kart fail, then Nintendo would have a problem on its hands. Until then, the Wii U just looks a lot like the 3DS of last year to me.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

Agreed @toddhaley13. I have a Wii U and 3DS for Nintendo games, for almost everything else I have a PC. 

jshay512
jshay512

@m1cronmega81What is wrong with this is the fact that Nintendo came out saying that the Wii U would be able to support the new and current 3rd party games/ engines. That is not the case though as many of the main EA engines are not able to be run on the Wii U. Other 3rd party game companies are running into the same problem and are coming out saying the same thing as EA. If anyone has "stooped low" it is Nintendo's for lying about their consoles capabilities. EA should not be forced to create expensive new dumbed down versions of their engines so they can run the Wii U when the new better engines can run to PS Xbox and PC and will likely sell better on these consoles.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

It is a shame but I think that EA will reconsider as the Wii U user base increases, @cutdank. It's easy to point fingers at EA and claim that they're playing favorites but I think that the truth is that EA is actually having a rough time financially and that they need to develop conservatively because of that.

blasterman1
blasterman1

@JosephCWren Xbox 3 will have a subsidized model placing it at $299.99 out the door.  Yes it will cost more in the end but that's not going to matter to the majority of people.  The Wii U is going to seem really stupidly priced next to that.

badboymoviestar
badboymoviestar

@JosephCWren  

 The ps4 and 720 will be competitively priced at $399.

That being said, I won't buy any EA games for either of those systems either.  

EA is still ranked in the top 3 worst US companies, and it shows.  Garbage games with an hour max attention span, ridiculous prices, and the final straw:  Mass Effect 3.  Who can forget THAT steaming pile of failure?


Keep buying EA games, and keep hating them.   I got wise.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

I absolutely agree with both points. 

1. The Wii U is in the same boat as the 3DS. It isn't the hardware, it's the fact that there aren't any "must have" games for the console. NintendoLand is fun but it's not a Wii Sports or Super Mario 64. New Super Mario Brothers U is the kind of game that most people that own the console pick up, but it's not the kind of game that most people pick up a console for. "X", Mario Kart U, Smash Brothers U, Super Mario "Universe", and so on will show the true mettle of the Wii U.

2. A released product with known flaws almost always compares poorly to an unreleased product with unknown flaws, @JosephCWren. I agree that the Wii U will actually get a boost once the PS4 and 720 are released. I think that pricing will be a major factor, not just of the console but of the games themselves.

Kaihaku
Kaihaku

Dragon Age and Mass Effect were great, then Electronic Arts snapped Bioware up. Did Dragon Age 2 really live up to your expectations? How about Mass Effect 3? Electronic Arts is a company that survives by buying up smaller developers for their IPs and then spitting out low quality titles until the IP is discredited. I still have a grudge against them for destroying Ultima way back in the day. @blasterman1 @Korgoth 

Korgoth
Korgoth

@blasterman1 @Korgoth Congratulations, 2 games in the past 10 years have been good, original concepts.  It's tough to find them under the annual rerelease of every other unimaginative series they crank out just to pry money from the hands of the gaming public.  It's gotten so bad that some of these rereleases they have only managed to change the number on the cover (See FIFA 13).

blasterman1
blasterman1

@Korgoth @blasterman1 You do realize that most consoles have more than just EA support right?  If you compare the critically acclaimed games on the Wii to the 360 or PS3 you're going to see that the Wii had tons of shovelware and comparable less great games.  It's going to be far worse on the Wii U.

blasterman1
blasterman1

@Kaihaku Why wait for something that's not coming out for 2-3 years?  It will be way too late by then.

sonicfan1373
sonicfan1373

@jshay512 @m1cronmega81

The problem is that EA has not exactly been truthful when it comes to talking about their engine technology on the Wii U. When it came to Crysis 3, EA said that the Wii U could not handle the game engine (CryEngine 3). However, the developer of the game (Crytek) reported that Wii U ran CryEngine 3 well and that the game for Wii U was almost complete when EA pulled the plug. Furthermore, Shadow of Eternals (a game made by Precursor games and is to be published on PC and Wii U) runs CryEngine 3 and the developers say they had no problems what so ever running the game.

Also, EA showed Battlefield 3 during E3 for Wii U (which runs on Frostbite engine) and EA's former CEO stated that EA's studios had access to Wii U dev kits for a while and he regarded the system as powerful and they had developed Battlefield 3 for the system but not released it because of the gap between the release of the game and the release of Wii U. However, EA is now saying that Frostbite 2 engine does not run well on the system and Frostbite 3 engine does not run either.

This morning one of EA Sports' developers slammed the Wii U for being less powerful than Xbox 360 with a weird tablet controller and no online. They also blamed Wii U's power as the reason why recent EA Sports games are not coming to the platform. Last year EA sports released Fifa 2013 and Madden for Wii U and they talked about how the Wii U's superior graphics capabilities allowed them to include better textures and more animation to the audience. Furthermore, Criterion also discussed how they were able to use better lighting effects and textures on Wii U for Need for Speed. EA Sports saying the console is not powerful enough to handle their games that are coming to current generation systems despite it already running previous version of their games better then they ran on current generation systems is yet another lie.

What EA is not saying is that they recently had a less than stellar year which resulted in their former CEO getting fired, they laid off a bunch of people, they lost market share to Activision and Ubisoft in 2012. EA games tend to sell less on Nintendo consoles (as you stated) and with the situation EA finds itself in it is easier for them to ditch Nintendo and blame the Wii U for the reason they are ditching. EA is taking the avoidant approach because they do not want admit that their resources are constrained and they do not have the resources to support a third console platform which sees limited success of their titles (EA does have an abundance of resources but they also have shareholders with high expectations which limits the use of their financial resources; this fiscal year was not good for them but it was not horrible yet it resulted in their CEO getting sacked and unfortunate lay-offs). 

EA being avoidant and lying is not exactly new for the company. The company was voted as the worst company of the year by Consumerist magazine (more specifically by their readers) because of lack of customer support, low quality products, pricing, and various online policies. Instead of directly addressing these issues, they stated that the magazine chose the company due to its LGBT hiring policies and LGBT themes in games like Mass Effect 3; this statement was avoidant because other companies like Konami, Bethseda, and Sony also have either a LGBT friendly hiring policy or games with LGBT themes and they did not make the list.

|Now I am not saying that Nintendo has exactly been a saint in this situation either. Nintendo has not done a good enough job promoting the third party games that came to the Wii U at launch (except for a few handpicked exceptions like ZombiU and Monster Hunter [both of which sold quite well, which shows a bit of effort from Nintendo can go a long way]). Nintendo has been doing much better with promoting indie developers, and needless to say they promote their own games fine, but they have not been doing enough for big third-party publishers on the system (again except for a few), or independent third-party studios who want to make large scale games for the system (though they are making more of an effort here with Platinum games and a few other Japanese companies, but that is still not enough).

The lack of EA's games on the Wii U will not dramatically hurt Wii U as Nintendo platforms sell more based on Nintendo games (look at 3DS, it has sold 30 million units without EA [and EA was very much present on DS]); however, I believe it will still have minimal effect on sales especially due to consumer perception. However, if Nintendo does take more interest in working with and promoting large scale third-party publishers then other will run as well (Nintendo has to especially watch out for Activision Blizzard and Ubisoft as they are investing heavily on Wii U this year with IPs that traditionally only sell modestly on Nintendo systems).  

thetutonicdrone
thetutonicdrone

@jshay512 @m1cronmega81 That is just incorrect. The Wii U is more powerful than the 360 and ps3 and in the ballpark of where the ps4 and the rumored specs for the new Xbox are. What we have here is EA still angry bout the origin thing. That engine they say won't work on the Wii U they are bringing to the Iphone... Yeah listen to them they don't lie.

Korgoth
Korgoth

@Kaihaku @cutdank Rereleasing the same game year after year with a new number on it will do that.  How many people bought FIFA 13?

Max465
Max465

@KaihakuFor the most part I agree with you. Although Nintendoland is far better than Wii Sports as a launch title. It's still not a meaty game, and something that can be thrown aside after a few hours of enjoyment, but it's content is a lot more fun for a party sense than Wii Sports ever was.

The Wii sold better because its gimmick was more interesting from a consumer standpoint. Both had pretty sorry excuses for launch titles. Hell with just one Mario game the Wii U has more Mario titles at launch than the Wii.

blasterman1
blasterman1

@Kaihaku @blasterman1 @Korgoth I thought Dragon Age 2 was alright, not as good as Origins obviously.  I though Mass Effect 3 was a great game and don't understand why people were crying about it.  I guess it's a bunch of people that want the storybook ending.  Well they got their ending, EA patched in the storybook ending after all the people cried about it.

Korgoth
Korgoth

@blasterman1 @Korgoth If you would like, go ahead.  We could go back and forth all day on that.

My point wasn't about the best games on either of those systems.  My point was that they both were inundated with lousy shovelware games due to being the most popular systems of their generations, since you brought up the wealth of shovelware on the Wii.

Not much shovelware on the NeoGeo, but no one argues that was the most successful console of it's generation.

Korgoth
Korgoth

@blasterman1 @Korgoth Every successful system is loaded with shovelware.  Look at the PS2, it had more shovelware than any other system... till the Wii came along..

Lots of companies are supporting the Wii U, and just because one company is struggling to allocate their limited resources due in large part to their unoriginal games, doesn't make Nintendo in trouble.

If they could survive and even thrive through the N64 and Gamecube years, Nintendo can make it here.  The Wii U is actually the 1st Nintendo console sold at a loss, but it becomes profit after a single game sale.  Have no fear, Nintendo will still be making consoles and games for said consoles till our grandkids have grandkids.

sonicfan1373
sonicfan1373

@blasterman1 @sonicfan1373 @Kaihaku 

Nintendo EAD Group #1 is in charge of Mario Kart and they have not been working on any games since Mario Kart 7 for 3DS in 2011 so this group is available and they have most likely been working on this game for a while.


Nintendo EAD Group #4 had to make both New Super Mario Bros U and Pikmin 3 hence explaining the understaffing.


Nintendo EAD Tokyo Group # 2 is in-charge of 3D Mario games and they have not made anything since Super Mario 3D Land in 2011 which means they have resources.  


Nintendo EAD #3 is in charge of Zelda and they are working on a new Zelda game but not a remake (which indicates that the title was most likely outsourced, just like how Nintendo outsourced Ocarina of Time 3D to Grezzo).

Lastly, Nintendo is opening a new studio this year which means they are hiring.

blasterman1
blasterman1

@sonicfan1373@blasterman1@Kaihaku

Below is a link followed by relevant paragraphs followed by my expert analysis.

http://www.videogamer.com/wiiu/pikmin_3/news/understaffing_at_nintendo_led_to_pikmin_3_delay_and_lack_of_first-party_wii_u_titles.html

Iwata claims that it is "becoming increasingly challenging" to determine the amount of resources needed to achieve the level of quality expected from Nintendo's first-party line-up, and reveals that development staff were pulled off of future projects to help "understaffed" titles - including the much-delayed Pikmin 3.

"In short, the development teams of 'Pikmin 3' and other future games were understaffed during that period. We do not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development. These days it is becoming increasingly challenging to determine the minimum development resources required for customer satisfaction."

This means they pulled developers from their other games to release New Super Mario Bros U in time for the Wii U launch.  This is the reason all their games are delayed.  The fact that he says they're understaffed then follows up with "We do not simply have one easily identifiable bottleneck in software development" is evidence enough to me that they don't know what they're doing.  They're understaffed.  They don't want to hire new employees and they're delaying games because of that.  Then they say that they can't identify the reason for the problems even though they just said it.  I see no reason to believe anything will be released on time.

sonicfan1373
sonicfan1373

@blasterman1 @sonicfan1373 @Kaihaku 

I have no reason not to believe that Zelda, Mario, and Mario Kart will not release this year. With Wii, DS, and 3DS Nintendo has released a combination of these titles in the first year. Also, the Nintendo 3DS bundled with Super Mario 3D Land and the one with Mario Kart conquered the 2011 shopping season so why would it not do the same now. Furthermore, Zelda Ocarina of Time 3DS was not a flop and Zelda Twilight Princess (a title for Gamecube ported to Wii) was not a flop, why would a Wind Waker remake be a flop. Lastly, Microsoft already has a subsidized Xbox 360 for $99 plus a 2 year Xbox Live contract, yet that consoles sales are down year-on-year and Microsoft did not list this offer as being particularly successful in its March earnings report; this indicates that the market does not resonate well with this strategy for consoles, of course things could change if Microsoft does the same with the next-gen Xbox, so we will have to wait an see on that. 

blasterman1
blasterman1

@sonicfan1373 @blasterman1 @Kaihaku Nintendo's president has said a lot of things that weren't true.  When was Pikmin 3 coming out again?  Oh and hey, they have a history of lies.  I remember the N64 and they kept delaying Earthbound 64 which eventually turned into vaporware.  Don't count on his word being true.

 I love how everyone calls a game "3d Mario".  If that comes out this year that could help a bit but it's not going to sell consoles by itself.  The Wind Waker remake is going to be a massive flop.

They're going to have to lower the price at least $100 or they won't be able to compete with the subsidized Xbox 360 price structure.  

Nintendo is in TROUBLE.

sonicfan1373
sonicfan1373

@blasterman1 @Kaihaku 

Nintendo's president has said that Mario Kart, Zelda (remake), and a 3D Mario game will all come this year along with a Sonic and Mario game and another Sonic game. Looking at 3DS Nintendo just needs to make a price cut (to make it a less expensive alternative to other next-gen systems) and release these new games for the system to take off this year. Of course they will have to keep new games coming in order to maintain momentum or else they will see a successful holiday and experience a loss in sales as soon as 2014 rolls in.

Korgoth
Korgoth

@sonicfan1373 @blasterman1 @Korgoth @007_1/2 @JosephCWren The problem with having your cable provider subsidize a gaming system is what to do when it breaks down.  In most cases, they would simply replace it since their service is tied to the box as is the box to the service.  If the system was tied to a gaming console, who's responsible if it RRODs?  The current Microsoft strategy is the player becomes the payer.

Is Comcast or whoever going to pay to replace the system?  I doubt it.  Will Microsoft?  They will only for so long, normally less than 1 year, (though during the height of the RROD they did extend it.)  So who's going to be stuck picking up the bill?

sonicfan1373
sonicfan1373

@blasterman1 @Korgoth @007_1/2 @JosephCWren 

I think that a subsidized next-gen Xbox offered by cable companies could be quite successful especially considering how successful the Nextbox has been (even without offering any gaming abilities) so that would be interesting to see. However, if Microsoft only releases a subsidized Xbox with a 2-year Live contract I think that will be less successful (seeing how the market has not taken to the subsidized Xbox 360 with Live).  

blasterman1
blasterman1

@Korgoth @blasterman1 @007_1/2 @JosephCWren It could also be lower.  I'd be amazed if they announce pricing at this event.  It's certainly possible with the discussion of having possible consoles subsidized by the cable companies like Comcast, time warner, verizon fios, etc.  As it is right now, if you don't have a need for HUGE numbers of cable channels, you can use an Xbox 360 to replace a cable box.  That pays for itself in no time since cable boxes cost at least 10 a month to rent.

Korgoth
Korgoth

@blasterman1 @007_1/2 @JosephCWren That is for those people who arn't already stuck paying $15 a month for a 360 for the next 2 years.

And remember the $15 per month subscription is only based on speculation due to the current 360 price.  It could be higher, we don't know and might not even know in 4 days.

Don't count your chickens till their hatched.

blasterman1
blasterman1

@007_1/2 @blasterman1 @JosephCWren Including live yes.  I said "out the door".  I didn't say that's the price after the subsidy.  Assume an average sales tax of 5% and you get $15 sales tax on the subsidized console and $25 sales tax on the unsubsidized one.  Assuming a $15 a month price for xbox live, you'd be looking at $675 over 2 years including the 300 price, tax, and the XBL Gold membership.  Now compare that to 500 + 25 tax + 120 xbox gold = 645

So even if you want to compare the final price, it's 645 vs 675 or only $15 a year to finance this.  That's not very expensive.  If you're able to get some cheaper subscriptions then you'd be looking at maybe 10-15 more for the subsidized cost but it's still not that bad.


So the subsidy is only bad if you don't want a gold membership.  Everyone that wants a gold membership should get it.  This is going to destroy the Wii U's ability to price the system high.