Something extremely exciting is emerging in the cellular world. In the past twelve months, the cellular phone began to prove what many of its hardcore supporters have voiced for years – that the cell phone can be a leading platform for interactive entertainment services. What’s more, it could be much bigger than you realize, perhaps even bigger than the PC industry.
As an alternative to other potential interactive platforms (game consoles, PCs, GameBoy), cell phones have some unique advantages. First and foremost, they are pervasive. The installed base of cell phones worldwide is around 1.3 billion. Second, most people carry them wherever they go – this is a real plus for interactive games as well as communication oriented features. Cell phone games can entertain during “stolen moments” – the times that would otherwise be wasted. Additionally, cell phone carriers have been much more adept than say Internet portals in deploying billing or “wallet” like features. You can “buy on a click” much easier on your phone than the Internet – an example of the carrier leveraging its previously existing billing relationship. Lastly, because all current cell phones have both a global phone number and an IP address (with your carrier acting as the ISP) you already have a directory-enabling structure that allows any phone to easily link to another.
analysts peg the worldwide installed base of active PCs to be between 500 and 750 million. However, the active installed base of cellular phone users is once again, approximately 1.3 billion. Looking forward, this gap is likely to increase. The IDC-reported number for annual PC sales is approximately 150 million. The current estimate for worldwide cellular sales is more than 400 million. Turn your eye to developing countries and the gap is even larger. In China, the installed base of cell phones, at 200 million, is already ten times the size of the installed base of PCs.