On a BBC report that mobile gaming [is] ‘set to explode’ in all cell phone markets.

BBC News reports that mobile gaming [is] ‘set to explode’ in all cell phone markets:

Mobile gaming is seen by many as the next big thing, as phones become more powerful and come with colour screens.

“This has been a very good year for mobile gaming,” said games consultant Robert Tercek.

“With what’s happening in Asia, Europe and North America, we’re well on track towards a billion dollar market in 2004,” he said.

Good news, but it will still require some mind-shifts on the part of telco:

Mr Tercek of the digital media consultancy Machines That Go Ping said the growing popularity of mobile gaming would require a new way of thinking for the phone operators.

“They are used to thinking of just minutes, of just voice,” he said in his opening address to the Game Developers Conference Europe, being held this week in London. “Operators are not used to data, especially in the US.”

It may be that the social practices that underwrite Japanese games are more present in the U.S.– or perhaps transferrable– than we think. I realized a while ago that I use my Clie the way Japanese commuters use their cell phones, namely to fill out “in-between” times when I’m waiting for something. Likewise, my wife plays her favorite video game while waiting to connect to the Internet, and while our daughter is in the bath– another set of in-between times.

One of the most interesting things is that old games are being ported over to cell phones. As Namco’s David Collier explained, “The game mechanics of arcade classics are perfect for mobile phone as they were designed for three-minute plays.” And doubtless there are lots of people (like me) who wouldn’t be turned on by new games, but would love to be able to play Defender or Joust on their cell phones.