Sounds appropriate to me.
Sony is killing themselves with this free online service (just in case people thought I was just being the Wii defense force, I've consistently defended XBL).
Here's the simplest way to put it: look at the profit margins on the Xbox and Playstation brands over the last 2-3 years; they are, collectively, billions upon billions of dollars in the hole. Without doing the math fully, they're likely 4-5 billion dollars in the red combined.
In short: you may think we're paying too much for video games, but it's quite clear that we aren't paying enough. This isn't sustainable. Microsoft and Sony in particular absolutely must find new ways to bring in more money, because the current model isn't enough.
While I don't think Nintendo needs to have a subscription online service, I think it's smart to do so for long term growth.
Now, here's a prediction I think most of you will like better: I predict this move was made specifically to accomodate an Animal Crossing MMO.
Heh, if that's the case, then they need to find a way to make games cheaper to make
They can do this -- make a system like the Wii.
Buuuuut that doesn't seem to make most people happy. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be any magic fairy dust that will magically make games significantly cheaper to develop. Even the vaunted middleware, which probably is helping, can't bring costs back down to PS2 levels or even (I suspect) close to them. And what happens next generation? More middleware will need to be developed, which will cost more billions, all to bring costs to an even higher plateau than they're on now.