When Apple announced Sega’s sublime Super Monkey Ball for iPhone recently, it marked a major shift forward in mobile phone gaming. The producer of the game has now gone on record to state that he feels the iPhone is on a par with Nintendo’s DS and Sony’s PSP.

“From a technical standpoint, the iPhone is competitive with dedicated handheld gaming devices [like the DS and PSP],” Ethan Einhorn, producer of Sega’s Super Monkey Ball told Next-Gen.

“The delivery system for software will be digital and easy to use. And the ability to have all of your portable electronics needs catered to with one device is irresistible. Given all of that, the potential for the iPhone as a games platform is massive.”

Wrong market?

Analyst Michael Pachter with Wedbush Morgan is not so sold on the idea of the iPhone, claiming that: "I don't see it as a viable gaming platform, due to the cost of owning one… the addressable market doesn't really fit the core gamer demographic.

“To the extent that hip, rich people are an interesting gaming audience, iPhone games will work. My guess is that this group is only interested in the most rudimentary games, and that the market will be small.”

Sega, EA, Gameloft, THQ, Namco Bandai and a number of others have already committed to bringing both classic and news games to the iPhone.