Orr Group's Quarterly Report: D&D Up 3%, Pathfinder Down 2%, Cthulhu Is Rising!
  • Orr Group's Quarterly Report: D&D Up 3%, Pathfinder Down 2%, Cthulhu Is Rising!


    The Orr Group - the company behind the popular Roll20 virtual tabletop - has just released its Quarter 1 2018 user stats. D&D has increased its share yet again, with a 3% increase, with Pathfinder dropping by about 2%. Starfinder holds steady in 11th places and there's a big bump for Call of Cthulhu. The Q1 report was a bit late, so the Q2 report will be coming very soon, too.





    Here's what the Orr Group has to say:

    "Q1 is reliably a great month for games on Roll20. Whether that’s because of extra time, holiday cheer, or winter slowly forcing us to huddle around the glowing friendship box – we’re not entirely certain.

    Dungeons & Dragons 5E’s growth trend has been increasing about 3% each quarter, and this trend has maintained for Q1 2018. The phrase “the rising tide raises all ships” is quite true in our corner of the tabletop industry, and despite the continued growth of D&D, other publishers on our platform continue to see increased player numbers overall.

    Pathfinder continues to be in a reliable second place, with the official Pathfinder character sheet and adventures helping to cement it further. We believe Pathfinder will continue to rise, especially as our support for the system continues with more product and upcoming Charactermancersupport. Starfinder is growing steadily, from #16 to #11 over the course of two quarters, and we anticipate that the release of the official Starfinder sheet, as well as some excellent Starfinder products, will break it into the top 10 in no time.

    Call of Cthulhu is one of the biggest disruptors on the list. It’s been rising in ranks bit by bit each quarter, but has shot up from the 8th most played game on Roll20 to the 4th. This is likely due to their successful new edition picking up steam, but every function I try to run to examine this trend simply returns the value #Error.TheDarkLordWillsIt"


    Here's the previous quarter for those who want to compare.
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    Comments 19 Comments
    1. Pokelefi's Avatar
      Pokelefi -
      with Pathfinder dropping by about 2%
      and
      Pathfinder continues to be in a reliable second place, with the official Pathfinder character sheet and adventures helping to cement it further. We believe Pathfinder will continue to rise, especially as our support for the system continues with more product and upcoming Charactermancersupport
      Sorry is this just more is anyone else confused by these statements they drop 2% but "will continue to rise"?
    1. Echohawk's Avatar
      Echohawk -
      Not confusing for me, because of this sentence: "The phrase “the rising tide raises all ships” is quite true in our corner of the tabletop industry, and despite the continued growth of D&D, other publishers on our platform continue to see increased player numbers overall."

      So I took "continue to rise" as meaning "overall player numbers will continue to rise for Pathfinder despite the fact than even faster 5E growth gives Pathfinder a shrinking percentage of the total number of games played".
    1. Pokelefi's Avatar
      Pokelefi -
      ok thanks for clearing that up

      this honestly didn't make senes to me befor glad that more peopel get into it I a realtivly new player too oly in it for 1,5 years (and already it cased me to meet the guy again I had the only other RPG experiance iwht before that desit moving )
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Pokelefi View Post
      and

      Sorry is this just more is anyone else confused by these statements they drop 2% but "will continue to rise"?
      You need to look at all the numbers.

      When you look at just the percentages, D&D increased (again) and Pathfinder dropped:

      Name: roll20 - Percentage_Chart_2018Q1.png ► Views: 1497 ► Size: 11.3 KB

      Along with pretty much every other RPG really.

      But, when you look at the numbers of games played:

      Name: roll20 - numbers_Chart_2018Q1.png ► Views: 1423 ► Size: 12.5 KB

      You see that there *was* a spike in Pathfinder's numbers. It's just buried under the staggering spike of D&D players that came in at the same time.
      In fact, if you strip out the D&D numbers:

      Name: roll20 - Pathfinder-numbers_Chart_2018Q1.png ► Views: 1417 ► Size: 10.9 KB

      Pathfinder has mostly been trending upward, but the last quarter is a decent jump. It's be an impressive spike... if not for D&D's staggering growth.
    1. Banesfinger -
      Looking at your charts Jester David, would it be correct to say that since 2015, 5e had *doubled* its Total Number of Games *each* year?
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Banesfinger View Post
      Looking at your charts Jester David, would it be correct to say that since 2015, 5e had *doubled* its Total Number of Games *each* year?
      Checking the numbers, yes, that has happened.
      (And after just one quarter, it's already halfway to doubling its 2017 number...)
    1. Nylanfs's Avatar
      Nylanfs -
      Yea, #numberporn #graphporn
    1. Mercule's Avatar
      Mercule -
      Quote Originally Posted by Banesfinger View Post
      Looking at your charts Jester David, would it be correct to say that since 2015, 5e had *doubled* its Total Number of Games *each* year?
      Looks pretty close, to me. A bit more than that, most years. Keep in mind, though, that this is about VTT games, which is, itself, growing. Don't project the Roll 20 growth onto the hobby, as a whole. Which is not to imply that the hobby isn't doing well, just that the physical tabletops probably aren't doubling every year.

      What I find interesting is that Fate is outperforming Savage Worlds. These are the two "smaller" systems that I've started paying some attention to. I was under the impression that Roll 20 was something of a major outpost of SW players.
    1. Xavian Starsider's Avatar
      Xavian Starsider -
      Props to Morrus for the Cthulhu is rising joke. Funny, I am just prepping to start my first Call of Cthulhu (7e) campaign. But I didn't realize I am part of a trend. It seems the stars are right!
    1. bmfrosty's Avatar
      bmfrosty -
      I'm slightly confused. Has there been an increase in the number of games played on roll20, or is the sample size just bigger?
    1. Ghost2020 -
      Starfinder doesn't seem to really be building a lot of momentum. Will it have legs for Paizo?

      It should be interesting to see how Pathfinder 2 will fare in the coming years.
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      More Chart Porn!

      I hadn’t done
      A chart of the total number of players, because of overlap. It charts how many games users say they play, not what they might actually be playing. And might include inactive accounts. But some interesting data:

      Name: 1B7686DC-E2A8-4654-B107-A5C9EA1D3560.png ► Views: 941 ► Size: 14.2 KB

      You can can see the solid overlap between PF and 3e players as users put down both. And how 5e and PF stay even for a good while.
      And then in 2016 5e pulls away, likely as people who only play 5e but not PF/3e sign up. A very early turning point for the game, as new fans come aboard.

      *
      I’ve also been curious about some of the smaller performing RPGs. The indies.

      First off, percentages. Unsurprisingly, these are dropping as D&D swallows the market:

      Name: A14CEFB7-65B9-4362-A9FA-F51ACC0AF3DA.png ► Views: 940 ► Size: 24.0 KB

      And then the total numbers of players, which is fairly consistent showing steady growth for most games.

      Name: 1C218D72-9430-48AC-A466-B76175A97A4B.png ► Views: 936 ► Size: 23.3 KB

      The anomalies here are the big Warhammer and World of Darkness jumps, when Roll20 started counting all the subgames as one.
      Notice the mostly steady demand for Call of Cthulhu in the middle of the pack.

      Lastly, we have the number of active games:

      Name: 89E03F39-91C5-42C7-8AFE-41D48E370ADD.png ► Views: 934 ► Size: 23.0 KB

      There’s much more funky variability here. Again, you see the big jump in Warhammer and WoD for combining subgames. A lot of up and down too. Games ending or going on hiatus?

      The flatness here surprises me. There’s constant new players in a much steeper curve, but far fewer non-D&D games being added.
      Which might explain the sudden and dramatic Call of Cthulhu spike (which really seems like a Roll20 error). The player demand is ever increasing, but GMs are not available.
    1. Jay Verkuilen's Avatar
      Jay Verkuilen -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
      You can can see the solid overlap between PF and 3e players as users put down both. And how 5e and PF stay even for a good while.
      And then in 2016 5e pulls away, likely as people who only play 5e but not PF/3e sign up. A very early turning point for the game, as new fans come aboard.
      A good bit of this might be conversions and as games end people may be starting new ones and switching from 3.X or 4E to 5E. It would be a pretty complicated analysis to tease that out... I have no clue if the data are available to do that.

      For me, of three one is a 5E game that was a 4E conversion, a 5E from the start, and a 2E game (I've been running the latter off and on since 1999!).
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jay Verkuilen View Post
      A good bit of this might be conversions and as games end people may be starting new ones and switching from 3.X or 4E to 5E. It would be a pretty complicated analysis to tease that out... I have no clue if the data are available to do that.

      For me, of three one is a 5E game that was a 4E conversion, a 5E from the start, and a 2E game (I've been running the latter off and on since 1999!).
      I think it's a case that your Roll20 profile you can tag games that you "enjoy playing" as well as ones that you're actively seeking a group for. You can tag a half-dozen games. So someone can be a "player" for multiple different systems at the same time.

      After all, the "player sample size" at the top of the chart is 102,860 but Pathfinder and 5e alone are 98,696 people.

      Plus, there's a lot of new games that might accidentally be being lumped in with "other games". For example, Star Trek Adventures wasn't a game you could tag six months ago, and anyone playing that game or looking to play that game might not have updated their profile. And there's bound to be people playing games who haven't tagged particular systems.
    1. Umbran's Avatar
      Umbran -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jester David View Post
      And how 5e and PF stay even for a good while.
      And then in 2016 5e pulls away, likely as people who only play 5e but not PF/3e sign up. A very early turning point for the game, as new fans come aboard.
      I am going to disagree with that interpretation of the graph. Specifically the bit I put in bold, above.

      That they "stay even" is a visual artifact of how thick the lines are in comparison to the scale of the graph. If you look again, you will notice that the 5e line slope is *always* greater than the slopes for any of the other games, for the entire period in question. That's not running even - that is starting behind, catching up, and surpassing. It is staying even in the same way the guy in the Camaro is running even to my Honda Civic on the highway....

      Yes, it gets a kick in Q4 of 2015, but it had already surpassed all other games on the chart at that point, only a year into the period. At that point, it turns from a Camaro into a Porche, but it was always moving faster.
    1. Roni Shamay's Avatar
      Roni Shamay -
      personally i am waiting for the pathfinder 2.0 playtest instead of another pathfinder campaign that might explain a bit of the stats decreasing...
    1. oknazevad's Avatar
      oknazevad -
      I expect we'll see quite a bit of that in the next quarter's results, but this was for the first quarter, which predates the Pathfinder 2e announcement (Q1 is for December through February, iinm, while PF2 was announced in early March.)
    1. Jester David's Avatar
      Jester David -
      Pathfinder 2 is very likely going to split the Pathfinder fanbase on Roll20 for many months, as people opt to finish campaigns rather than switching. I expect more playtest mini-games and one-shots than full campaigns. It will be some time before everyone who will convert does so.
    1. aramis erak's Avatar
      aramis erak -
      Quote Originally Posted by bmfrosty View Post
      I'm slightly confused. Has there been an increase in the number of games played on roll20, or is the sample size just bigger?
      Their report is totals, not a subset. So population:sample:1.

      So, yes, it does indicate an increase in games played.

      Not itself terribly meaningful, as growth in player base is expected for a successful platform; when it STOPS growing will be very meaningful, as it then means they either have hit the market saturation, or they have screwed up the program.

      It's the relative growth of various games compared to each other that's really important... the percentage values. It's the very best metric available for what games are actually seeing play.

      And, as usual, if it's not D&D nor a close knockoff, its over an order of magnitude less than D&D. 5E alone is now 60.8% of all games played on Roll20, and 69.3% of players using Roll20 have played D&D 5 on it in the reported quarter. Other D&D/Pathfinder is also big - 16.25% of games are either D&D non-5E or Pathfinder (which is essentially 3.75).

      So, about 77% of all games on Roll20 are D&D or Pathfinder. And that's not counting the various OSR games, nor the close relatives like ACKS.
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