The Associated Press describes the state of casual games, giving an overview of the business side of the industry. The story quotes research group DFC Intelligence, putting the annual revenue of these games at nearly a billion dollars -- and that number doesn't even include casual games on "handheld devices."

With all of that money in play, the casual games segment is beginning to look like a microcosm of the whole games industry; even casual games are becoming sequel- and hit-driven titles. The article says PopCap took two-and-a-half years and $700,000 to develop a sequel to Bookworm Adventures, while just a few years ago, three developers could create a game for $100,000 in less than six months.

We hope that the casual market balances cash-cow sequels with new game types. We action-puzzle fans can only play Tetris -- or Bookworm Adventures -- so many times.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

New Crackdown trailer proves a point