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Casual Gaming and Mobile Devices Drive Gamer Growth


Gaming is growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones. New research shows more U.S. consumers are playing video games than ever as online and mobile gaming solutions gain dominion over the game consoles of yesteryear.

This has major implications for companies looking for techniques to keep their employees engaged.

The number of consumers who play at least one hour of video games per month stands at 135 million, compared with 56 million in 2008, according to new data from Parks Associates, a market research company. The majority of the new gamers are "casual gamers" ― people who play games such as Farmville and Angry Birds on social networks and mobile devices, the researchers found.

Three-fourths of U.S. tablet owners play games on their devices, including 79 percent of teenagers. Fifty-seven percent of smartphone owners also play games.

"The increase in the number of gamers is impressive because it crosses almost all demographics," said Pietro Macchiarella, a research analyst at Parks Associates. "Most of this growth is due to increases in the casual gamer segments, with tablets and smartphones usurping PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox as popular gaming devices.

"These changes have significant implications for the gaming industry. 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."

The growth in gaming creates new opportunities for companies that want to establish closer relationships with their various audiences, including their employees.

“The growth in casual game usage isn't surprising given the number of different ways people can connect throughout their day," said Rajat Paharia, founder and chief product officer of Bunchball, a gamification company. "Understanding what makes these games compelling and applying these elements to portals, collaboration systems and CRM solutions will give employers a huge advantage as they look at new methods for keeping employees engaged and productive.”

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.