Social and online games drive growth in audience

Online social games and free-to-play games, especially those such as FarmVille on Facebook, have helped the number of people who play video games to more than double to 135 million from 56 million in 2008, according to a new report from Parks Associates.

The research firm's new report, Trends in Digital Gaming: Free-to-Play, Social, and Mobile Games, finds that many new gamers are casual gamers who have been attracted by social and free games on smartphones and tablets. "Such a big increase is caused by an increase in gaming that affects most demographics and particularly older demographics who had never played games before -- and still do not consider themselves as gamers," says the report's author Pietro Macchiarella.

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