According to a new report
[PDF] from analyst firm Parks Associates, there are now 135 million people in the United States playing games for at least an hour per month, more than double the 56 million gamers reported in 2008.
Most of these new gamers, the firm says, have been attracted by the free to play and social markets, which have captured new audiences on the web, smartphones, and other emerging platforms.
In the mobile space, specifically, Parks Associates reports that roughly 18 percent of all U.S. gamers download games through their phones, up from 7 percent in 2008.
Games are even more popular for tablet owners, as 71 percent of adult owners and 79 percent of teen owners admitted to playing games on their device at least one hour per month.
Outside of the mobile space, roughly 80 percent of U.S. gamers play either free-to-play online games or Facebook games -- a considerable number, considering these markets only hit their stride within the last few years.
In addition, Parks Associates detailed spending habits for the free to play and online markets, noting that gamers who buy virtual goods via Facebook games spend about $29 per month on average, while those who purchase items in other free to play games spend roughly $21 per month.
Last year, the firm issued a similar report,
saying that the number of gamers in older demographics has more than doubled since 2007, thanks in large part to games such as Angry Birds
, Fruit Ninja
, and Words with Friends