Service providers should look beyond the PC to other potential devices, according to industry analyst IDC.
The advice follows the recent announcement by Microsoft and AOL to deliver online content to a range of Internet appliances such as video game consoles. With the imminent release of online connectivity for the Sony PlayStation 2 and the launch of Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's GameCube, IDC predicts online gaming subscription revenue for game consoles will offer substantial opportunities to service providers.
"While xSPs have been focusing their attention on PCs, in fact, next generation video game consoles and handheld gaming platforms have begun to acquire the means to access online content, either through an integrated or add-on networking component," the analyst reports.
Sony last week announced a nonexclusive deal with AOL which will see AOL's client software made available to PlayStation 2 customers. AOL will begin building a version of the Netscape browser for Sony gamers and will provide Sony with instant messaging and e-mail features for upcoming games.
IDC predicts strong game content will be the driving force behind the utilisation of the Internet features, rather than simple Web surfing.