Parks Associates study: US gaming population has almost tripled since 2008

In 2008, a seemingly massive 56 million people said they played a video game at least one hour per month. In 2011, that number is 135 million, and these figures are only representative of the US. And you know what the population of the US is, right? Around 307 million, In other words, around 44% of the entire country is now a gamer, a number that would probably near 50% if you took out newborns and others without the capacity to play video games.

The study that revealed this information came from Parks Associates and is titled Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games. Based on the title of the report alone, you can probably guess what the conclusion of the study was. It's thanks to the explosion of games on new and non-barrier-heavy platforms on which to play video games like Facebook and cell phones. These are platforms that everyone has access to, as opposed to the old environment where gamers had to go out and buy a dedicated game system or piece of computer gaming software.

The research group found that among Facebook gamers who actually spend money, the average amount spent per month is $29. In addition, those who log into free-to-play games including freemium mobile games, and end up paying for in-game currency or items, are racking up an average of $21 per month in charges. These numbers are pretty low compared to what you might have considered a typical gamer just a few years ago, and it doesn't even factor in those who are perfectly content playing the free games and never putting in their credit card number. We all knew the industry was expanding, but 44% of the country now defined as an active gamer? That's a pretty big amount.

[via VentureBeat]