The number of gamers more than doubled in the past three years, from 56 million to 135 millions, according to a press release from market research company Parks Associates.
Most of this increase was due to "casual" gaming. "Casual" gaming might seem like an oxymoron, but the term refers to games which don't take much time or investment, like those on mobile phones or on Facebook. Some of the most popular "casual" games are Angry Birds, Farmville, Cityville, Sims Social and Bejeweled Blitz.
Angry Birds is so popular that it is spawning its own empire of toys and other merchandise:
(Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Game consoles like the Playstation 3 and XBox 360 are no longer dominating the market. Now, mobile gaming is the top trend. According to the press release, tablets are another big gaming market now, with 75 percent of tablet users playing games on them, while 57 percent of smart phone users play games on their phones.
"These changes have significant implications for the gaming industry," research analyst Pietro Macchiarella said. "This new majority of casual gamers is looking for games with low investments required in terms of dollars and time necessary to learn the game."
In other words, these gamers want their games to be fun activities, not a second (or only) career.
Imagine that: games no longer have to have expensive equipment or cost more than $50 to be popular. You don't have to play them for hours on end to enjoy them. In fact, you can play them online in the grocery store or on your lunch break at work. You don't have to be a "serious" gamer! You can be "casual" about it!
How about you? Do you play games on your smart phone, iPad or on social networks? Which ones do you play?