The future may or may not be Orange but it doesn’t appear that record execs will need to be donning the shades to protect from a dazzingly bright future on mobile, if Orange’s latest UK numbers are anything to go by. Games downloads totaled 750,000 over a 3 month period, which works out as the same monthly rate as ring tones, music tracks and music videos combined.

With handset makers such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola (who today launched a new range of handsets) pursuing increasingly aggressive music strategies (that make side-loading easier and easier) operators would be forgiven for focusing their energies elsewhere. Sure there are examples of very successful mobile music offerings such as 3, but if mobile music handsets go the same way as dedicated MP3 players then the majority of what mobile users will do is listen to pre-existing music collections. Mobile does of course have the added benefit of immediacy and impulse so there is market opportunity there and there will be sizeable revenues. But games are simply a bigger deal with less direct competition: European mobile games revenues were nearly ten times higher in 2006 than OTA music and will still be sizably bigger in 2011.