Dana Blankenhorn writes that “the big trend in cellular or mobile telephony for 2005 will be…gaming.” More specifically, online gaming.
The point is that in modern online games the game itself takes place in an online realm, for which you pay by the hour. The download of the game itself is trivial. Many game makers offer free downloads. It’s the old razor blade analogy (or the computer printer analogy) — give away the razor and sell the blades (or the toner).
Why will this happen so quickly?
The lag-time between Internet trends and mobile trends is going down as 3G networks and better phones make the two more similar.
Carriers profit twice from online games, once when the game is downloaded, but second (continually) as the game is played. Mobile telephony is still metered, so unlike an ISP they always get a cut.
Carriers can create entirely new, predictable revenue streams by selling “packages” of game minutes. Since these minutes are more certain to be used than talk minutes, and since they will come on broadband networks, they will cost more.