A lot of the discussion around the financial viability of public hotspots has centered on consumer access fees – which to date have not been as high as hoped due to lack of consumer interest and the availability of free public access. Not much press attention has focused on the other uses of the network.
I just recently saw this news story again in the press and it is one that intrigues me more than some of the other business models we've evaluated.
Nintendo Plans Wi-Fi Launch
Nintendo announced it will establish 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in Japan by the end of 2005 where owners of its DS portable game machines can play games with others online for free. The company is planning similar services for overseas markets, aiming to expand sales of the DS and protect its leading position in the handheld game console industry. (Source: Reuters)
It reminds us that Wi-Fi will show up in a lot more consumer electronics products than just laptops. And, there will be a lot more ways that venues can make money from Wi-Fi than by simply offering connectivity. Kodak and T-mobile announced the Wi-Fi-enabled camera and integrated T-mobile set-up/connection to T-mobile services at CES this past winter.
We'll be publishing a piece that explores this topic futher towards teh end of the month.