Actually, if Nokia could make the N-Gage signing process a breeze and streamline the SDK to be less buggy and with less weirdness in general, it could actually be a fine alternative to doing native Symbian games or even Java games. Simply because the N-Gage platform has the needed functionality for games and online stuff wrapped in one package and it performs better than Java of course.
Being able to use Ovi as a distribution channel for paid N-Gage games is a no-brainer - of course Nokia should do that ASAP! It's the only chance N-Gage has.
I believe Ovi Store will be a success as an app/games shop, in some way or another, no doubt. I can't speak for the sales on the N-Gage channel, but Ovi Store definiteliy seems to be picking up steam. There is still work to be done, quality wise, in terms of what products are allowed on the store for what devices and the store itself, but it is coming along now.
Regardless of whether native apps will fly or not, it is still possible to do a lot with Java these days on Nokia phones (and Sony Ericsson) that most people don't realize - in fact, in my humble developer-view, it is possible to do a 2D game, where people won't be able to notice the difference between whether it is a Java game or a native game. 3D is a little harder, though
The reason why we see a lot of bad Java games, is because of the attitude towards it by some developers and publishers alike. For instance in many cases, where it is a game with 2D gameplay, there is still being made a pipeline-wise distinction between whether it is for the iPhone or a Java/Android/BREW-phone. In case of high-end Java and Android devices, this is a wrong approach. 95% of all the 2D games found on Apple AppStore can EASILY be made on a decent J2ME device. Most new devices have accelerometer, touch and decent processing speed accessable to Java as well as, at least, the required 2D gfx-capabilities.
For example regarding the touch Nokia-phones: Yes, it is true that the Nokia 5800 had BAD performance when it was released, but the newest firmware remedies this almost _completely_. Our own games runs very nicely after a firmware update on our test 5800. It now performs just as well as e.g. a N81 or similar (Yes, Nokia should have done this BEFORE releasing the 5800, but alas...).
The same is - at least - true for the N97. (N97 is in fact faster than a 5800 with newest firmware as-is right now. 5800 - 364 Mhz ARM11, N97 - 434 Mhz ARM11).
By the way - calling the N97 "slow" by saying that the 434 Mhz ARM 11 CPU is "slow" is absurd. It's not the fastest in town, but it is actually above average. Most mid-to-highend phones in most regions have a 300-something Mhz clocked ARM11 CPU (or similar). BUT the fact that the flagship N97 does not have an 3D accellerator is however less fortunate since it is supposed to be a high-end device. Not that most users will care much if the overall quality is ensured, since N97 has other very redeeming features - at least in my view. No accelerator, is not an excuse to not make a 3D game on it - that is still fairly easy to do given a decent SW OpenGL implementation, in fact the biggest drawback having no 3D accelerator is the missing texture-smoothing, polycount is not even that much of an issue. But then again - "explicit" 3D games still seem to be those games that have the poorest sales anyway, even on iPhone, soo yeah well....
In conclusion - Yes, Nokia should streamline Ovi Store and N-Gage ASAP, just like they already have done with the other supported dev. platforms (java/flash/symbian).
Last but not least - I think it's a cool thing to have several platforms to choose from as a developer. In many cases it is easier (and cheaper) to do a game in Java, instead of something specific in C++ and some native Api. BUT it is by NO MEANS any excuse to do bad quality.