During a panel session on mobile gaming, one analyst suggested that the iPhone hasn’t been very good for the gaming market, at least in the short term. But I'm wondering if it'll ever be a good format to play games on.

As Nancy Gohring of IDG News Service reported:

"Apple’s iPhone is a capable phone that holds promise for the future of gaming", said Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for Electronic Arts’ mobile division, speaking during a panel session at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. “But it’s a replacement for someone who had a Razr before. They still want their content but there’s no distribution platform in place so there’s a negative impact on the industry,” he said.

Because Apple so far hasn’t allowed iPhone users to download just anything, iPhone users may be giving up games that they played on a phone they previously owned, he said. “These devices are capable and powerful,” he said. “They’ll be great in the long term but it will take some time as people adapt to devices.”
The article goes on to talk about problems with mobile gaming in general, and as I read it I couldn’t help but think to Mac gaming guru Peter Cohen’s review of the iPod version of Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s a nice-looking game, according to Peter, but through no fault of either Sega of America or Apple, it’s just not the sort of thing that’s suited to the iPod’s interface. The take-away, for me anyhow: Some games just aren’t appropriate for some mobile devices.

Which brings us back to the iPhone. I know there’s been some work done developing game emulators for the iPhone, and the conventional wisdom is that next month’s SDK release will usher in a new era of iPhone-compatible software development, games included. But I can’t help but wonder if games is a genre that will really ever take on the iPhone, beyond a puzzle game or two, the odd poker offering, and maybe an impressive casual game. The phone’s interface, the fact that I don’t see users warming to something that might require them to tap feverishly on the screen, Apple’s general ambivalence to gaming — it suggests to me that there are other third-party opportunities for the iPhone that are more likely to thrive than games.

But now’s the chance for you to tell me how wrong I am.