The Escapist has two great articles on the state of games in 2005.
The first, Death to the Games Industry, Part I covers game development and publishing for the big guys, the AAA titles. It covers topics like the problems of dealing with publishers, the technology arms race, and cautions us about games looking and playing the same since everyone started licensing the same engines and technology (I wrote something similar in my Common Component Syndrome post).
The second covers the Indie game developer: Casual Fortunes, Getting Rich Slowly witch Casual Games. The article covers many interesting points, drops plenty of indie developer names, and mentions some game developer web sites. But, the most interesting item to me were the market numbers.
The 125-page IGDA 2005 Casual Games White Paper pegs the American casual market at $600 million in 2004 and projects growth to $2 billion by 2008. (Source: “US Online PC Gaming Forecast & Analysis, 2004-2008: Growth Continues,” December 2004, by business think-tank IDC.)
The piece goes on to quote some developers and estimates that some of these guys are making a very comfortable living — some even millions.
These are encouraging numbers; they certainly help support my previous post on the Mac Gaming Market.