A pretty lengthy, and solid, article on the casual games biz, here.
Some interesting excerpts:
The sequel to one of PopCap’s popular word puzzles, “Bookworm Adventures,” is expected to be the most expensive title produced for the casual game genre. PopCap, which has offices in San Francisco, Seattle and Ireland, spent $700,000 over 2 1/2 years developing the game. It’s set to debut online Tuesday at $30 per download.
$700K is a lot to develop a casual game. I’m anxious to take a look at this one when it comes out. (I don’t see it on PopCap’s site yet – sometimes they do limited releases a week or so before doing a general release to the public…)
Research group DFC Intelligence estimates that revenues from casual games worldwide will grow to $953 million this year, from $713 million last year. They were $228 million in 2002. Those numbers don’t include casual games played on handheld devices.
That’s pretty significant – a quadrupling in revenue in 4 years. Also, the last time I saw, traditional (non-casual, non-subscription) PC games were at about $800-900 million annually, in the US. You can probably assume the world-wide totals for traditional PC games are about twice that (probably a bit under $2 billion). Taking the analyst’s estimate and my guesswork at face value, casual games are now about half as big as traditional PC games, and growing much faster.
Of course, console gaming dwarfs both of the above sectors…