Rational gamers choose subsidized hardware, all else equall

There is an interesting trend happening in gaming hardware today. Sometimes, it’s a matter of giving it away just to stay afloat!

The reaction to our post about the Wii being profitable at launch puzzles.
If companies like Sony and Microsoft want to subsidize their consoles to the the point that they’re losing money on every unit sold, shouldn’t we (as rational consumers) want to take advantage of this built-in subsidy? All else equal, shouldn’t a rational consumer choose the console with the largest built-in subsidy?

Sony and Microsoft are giving us free hardware when they sell each console at a loss. A gamer who wants the most computing power for his buck will naturally prefer the subsidized console, ceteris paribus. Whether this is ultimately healthy for Microsoft and Sony is another matter entirely. The ultimate profitability of a game manufacturer is no concern of ours, as gamers…. Source: joystiq.com