I remember showing up early in the morning before 8AM and there were already people waiting in the hall. Time was cheaper in the morning and you could buy a "pack" of 3 hours for 100 rubles which was equivalent to $4. It was also sometimes dangerous because older guys used to bully younger people and take their money. I remember one time I was walking out of the cafe after playing for 4 hours and was approached by 2 guys, slightly older than me. One of them whipped out a knife and said: "Give me all your money or I'll slice your throat, I don't give a fuck, I'm minor so nothing bad will happen to me". I knew these two somehow. They had a reputation for attacking and robbing people, so they weren't fucking around. I gave them crumpled 10 rubles and said it's all I have left, because I'm going out of the cafe, not in. They should be stopping people who are going in. They believed me and let me go. I had another 500r on me and was glad they didn't check my pockets. Later this evening I came back to play more despite being afraid of getting mugged again, that's how strong my addiction to these cafes was.
To be frank those places weren't like cafes at all. We called them clubs. All they had inside were computers with LAN connection. Internet was there as well, but it wasn't popular. Most people were playing Counter Strike or Battlefield. Most clubs were managed by a single person, an admin. Those people weren't owners, they were just there to take money, allocate time to specific computers, and to tell people to get out.
The internet cafes had beds (sort of, more like booths with padded benches) and showers and vending machines with hot food. I went back and forth across the country without reserving hotel rooms in advance, and I spent the night in internet cafes fairly often.
I went back about 2 years ago and I saw mobile internet access advertised on the train for very low prices -- far cheaper than what you can get in the US. Smartphones were common. I saw a few internet cafes but I don't think people need them anymore. They will probably all be gone soon.
I think that role is here to stay as long as people want a place with a closed space with low social requirement.
Sadly, a few homeless have resorted to living in the se internet cafes to avoid living on the streets. That said, the number of these cafes have been dwindling.