Parks Associates, a market research and consulting firm, says that the number of American gamers has doubled since 2008, thanks largely to smart phones, tablets, and social networks. They show that the number of people who played a casual game for at least an hour a month rose from 56 million in 2008 to 135 million in 2011.
Parks says that the number of increasing gamers is significant for several reasons, one of which is the fact that it crosses nearly all demographics. Young and old, rich and poor, people are playing games in larger numbers.
By all numbers, says Parks, the losses in consoles are coming due to the encroachment of tablets and smart phones, which are the most common replacement mechanism for gamers. Interestingly, most players in this new segment are playing asynchronous multiplayers rather than MMO-style synchronous (real-time or simultaneous) games.
According to Parks, most new gamers are not interested in investing a lot of time, money, or learning curve effort to get into a game.
The overall implication is that while game playing numbers have doubled, most of those players are not interested in long-term commitments to a game. So the steady increases in MMO players is not part of this overall trend.