40 Million People Play D&D
  • 40 Million People Have Played D&D [UPDATED!]


    According to WotC, talking to Bloomberg, 40 million people play D&D annually; 9 million watched D&D on Twitch in 2017; and sales increased by 41% in 2017 and 53% in 2018. UPDATE! WotC's PR agency has reached to note that Bloomberg's figure refers to the number of people who have played the game since 1974, not annually!




    You can find this information and more in this article over on bloomberg.com, which is mainly about professional DMs.
    Comments 117 Comments
    1. Parmandur's Avatar
      Parmandur -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zardnaar View Post
      Maybe I should start charging lol. Locally DM shortage but there's also a gap age wide. A few oldies like me in late 30s early 40s and a heap college age ( who are mostly broke). Shortage of reliable DMs might be more accurate. Most can't afford a phb.

      The DM charging is in Seattle or somewhere like that? His clients were Google staff iirc.
      San Francisco, yeah. Most of the Pro DM stories I've seen tend to be folks on larger cities.
    1. joshinminn's Avatar
      joshinminn -
      However you parse the numbers, it's clearly a great time for D&D! Not only does it feel that more and more people are enjoying it, it also seems to be a period if critical and creative success. I'm excited about that! Hoping it bodes well for further expansion of the edition into settings.
    1. Monayuris's Avatar
      Monayuris -
      Quote Originally Posted by joshinminn View Post
      However you parse the numbers, it's clearly a great time for D&D! Not only does it feel that more and more people are enjoying it, it also seems to be a period if critical and creative success. I'm excited about that! Hoping it bodes well for further expansion of the edition into settings.
      100%. The Meetup group I'm in keeps gaining new members. The problem is there are too few DMs who run games. I run as many as I can handle.

      I think more people need to run games. Grab a module or dungeon and go for it. I think there should be something that makes the entry into DMing easier. Perhaps the Essentials Kit is a step in the right direction.

      Every feedback I've ever given to WoTC is to help new DMs. Get new DMs into the field and empower them.
    1. gyor's Avatar
      gyor -
      If 50% of those 40 million buy Baldur's Gate 3 Larian is going to make an insane amount of money, like possibly several hundred million dollars or more.
    1. Scrivener of Doom's Avatar
      Scrivener of Doom -
      Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
      If 50% of those 40 million buy Baldur's Gate 3 Larian is going to make an insane amount of money, like possibly several hundred million dollars or more.
      Don't forget there is a difference between revenue and profit....
    1. ad_hoc's Avatar
      ad_hoc -
      That number is so big it's hard to fully comprehend what it means.
    1. aco175's Avatar
      aco175 -
      I hope this translates to the local convention having more 5e games next year. The last couple years these sold out the first day or two and many people were standing around or needed to play other systems. I know people should try other games and cons are great places to try them, but I just want to lay D&D when I go. Last year, I ended up grabbing some other people in the hall who did not get a game and played a AL module I brought. One of the players gave me a ticket since he thought it was a legit convention game. The staff did come and give me a certificate to give to a player at the table and such, but not sure if they thought I was legit or not either.

      It could be a DM problem as well and I could offer to DM more, but we go for only one day and I kind of want to play.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
      If 50% of those 40 million buy Baldur's Gate 3 Larian is going to make an insane amount of money, like possibly several hundred million dollars or more.
      I doubt anywhere near half of the 40 mil will by Baldur's Gate 3. But I'm not a (video)gamer, so maybe it is just me.
    1. gyor's Avatar
      gyor -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      I doubt anywhere near half of the 40 mil will by Baldur's Gate 3. But I'm not a (video)gamer, so maybe it is just me.
      Why wouldn't they buy it?
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
      Why wouldn't they buy it?
      Because they played D&D exactly once in the last year and didn't much care for it?

      I mean, I'm not speculating whether that was 0.1% or 90% of the statistic, but if you went to an AL event once this year, tried D&D, and never came back, you're one of the 40 million.

      Though, really, even if you didn't care for the TT version, you might go ahead and buy the video game, anyway, if you like videogames to begin with.

      Quote Originally Posted by Monayuris View Post
      I think more people need to run games. Grab a module or dungeon and go for it. I think there should be something that makes the entry into DMing easier.
      There was, and it didn't go over so well - got derided as 'Player Entitlement' & 'not really D&D' - in part for precisely that reason.

      Part of the D&D mystique /is/ that gulf between player and DM. Narrow it too much and you get a backlash.
    1. Imaro's Avatar
      Imaro -
      Quote Originally Posted by Monayuris View Post

      I think more people need to run games. Grab a module or dungeon and go for it. I think there should be something that makes the entry into DMing easier. Perhaps the Essentials Kit is a step in the right direction.

      Every feedback I've ever given to WoTC is to help new DMs. Get new DMs into the field and empower them.
      You're assuming the issue is that DM'ing 5e is hard when there may be a simpler answer... more people just want to play than DM. If that is the case no amount of making DM'ing easy is going to entice them. I have players in my group like this, it's not that DM'ing is too hard it's that they just want to play.

      EDIT: IMO 5e is the easiest edition of D&D to DM, especially when using something like the Starter Set or Essentials Kit as a jumping off point. If anything it may be that 5e is just a victim of it's overwhelming success and that player growth has just outpaced DM growth for now since I would assume most people get into rpg's by first playing.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by gyor View Post
      Why wouldn't they buy it?
      Possibly:


      • No interest in video games (like me)
      • No knowledge of the game (of the people I play D&D with I am the only one who even knows the game is coming)
      • Dislike of the Baldur's gate series of games
      • Dislike of CRPGs
    1. jasper's Avatar
      jasper -
      Why wouldn't people buy Balder's Gate?
      Hmm. Cost too much. Rather play the real thing. Don't care for the storyline. Hate console games. Not enough time (I play less xbox now than 3 years due the TRPG takes up the free time). D&D not for them.
    1. Monayuris's Avatar
      Monayuris -
      Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post
      You're assuming the issue is that DM'ing 5e is hard when there may be a simpler answer... more people just want to play than DM. If that is the case no amount of making DM'ing easy is going to entice them. I have players in my group like this, it's not that DM'ing is too hard it's that they just want to play.

      EDIT: IMO 5e is the easiest edition of D&D to DM, especially when using something like the Starter Set or Essentials Kit as a jumping off point. If anything it may be that 5e is just a victim of it's overwhelming success and that player growth has just outpaced DM growth for now since I would assume most people get into rpg's by first playing.
      Yeah you are probably right. No one in my group really wants to run. I do occasionally get a 'I don't think I can handle it' response when I suggest a friend takes the reins.

      I don't own the Essentials set yet, but it looks like a good idea. I think there needs to be a reset of expectations in terms of DM'ing. I think there is a little too much of an idea that one needs to be qualified to be a DM... as if it is some rare skill only a few possess.

      In the Meetup I'm a part of, I see a lot of posts from groups of players asking for someone to DM for them.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by Imaro View Post
      You're assuming the issue is that DM'ing 5e is hard when there may be a simpler answer... more people just want to play than DM.
      I mean, that's /also/ true. For one thing, DMing is harder, and a lot of people would rather not put a /lot/ of effort into their pastime.

      I feel like there's simply fewer people "cut out" to be 5e DMs, it takes not only skill developed over time and/or innate talent for the tasks of DMing, but also … qualities … that just not everyone, nor even one person in 6, it seems, has.

      If that is the case no amount of making DM'ing easy is going to entice them. I have players in my group like this, it's not that DM'ing is too hard it's that they just want to play.
      I've had experience with games that are much easier to run than 5e D&D, and new players transition into running games more readily when it's just plain easier. A DM doesn't show up, and someone volunteers.

      But, often, those games aren't just easier to run, but also more transparent, with less distance between players who run characters and players who run games.

      EDIT: IMO 5e is the easiest edition of D&D to DM
      IMX, it's the most demanding of talent & judgment, while 3.5 was the most demanding of system mastery & just /time/, and 1e of sheer hard-won skill. 4e was certainly the easiest to run, phone-it-in/paint-by-numbers/embarrassingly easy. I'm running 4e after a year off due to health problems, in part because I simply don't have the energy to get into the zone where I'd run 5e at my best (and, in part, because my players would /really/ like to make it to 30th).*

      If anything it may be that 5e is just a victim of it's overwhelming success and that player growth has just outpaced DM growth for now since I would assume most people get into rpg's by first playing.
      Exactly. There's a learning curve before you can transition from player to DM - assuming you even have the aptitude.

      Quote Originally Posted by Monayuris View Post
      No one in my group really wants to run. I do occasionally get a 'I don't think I can handle it' response when I suggest a friend takes the reins.
      I don't own the Essentials set yet, but it looks like a good idea. I think there needs to be a reset of expectations in terms of DM'ing. I think there is a little too much of an idea that one needs to be qualified to be a DM... as if it is some rare skill only a few possess.
      The flip-side of DM Empowerment is that the DM takes on a lot of responsibility for the quality of the play experience.

      If anything, D&D is better off with a shortage of DMs, but the DMs we have running good games, than it would be if demand were met by more marginal DMs. (Indeed, some of the horror stories I've heard about AL DMs suggest setting the bar yet higher wouldn't be all bad.)

      In the Meetup I'm a part of, I see a lot of posts from groups of players asking for someone to DM for them.
      Back in the day, I always remembered it being DMs who would post (I mean, literally, like a card, a push pin, a bulletin board, at the local hobby shop) looking for players - and pick from a dozen or so...
      ...and you better take it down once you have your group, or your phone would still be ringing months later.
    1. doctorbadwolf's Avatar
      doctorbadwolf -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      I doubt anywhere near half of the 40 mil will by Baldur's Gate 3. But I'm not a (video)gamer, so maybe it is just me.
      I really doubt that less than half of the people playing dnd are into video games, tbh. The fact that it ties in with official story lines will also help, and the hype train has barely left the station.
    1. jasper's Avatar
      jasper -
      EYES HATES @TonyVargas Getting dozens of players at the drop of push pin. WHERE? What did you lace the note with? Did you offer free cookies. Ok. Enough ragging on Tony.
      IMXP 5E especially Adventure League is easy to run. The rules are consistent. No roll high to hit, roll low to find secret doors, the spells are the same regardless of which class is tossing them about.

      There have been always a shortage of DM. Due some of the players don't want to put up with BS they throw out as player. Some people have bad players who want to tick off the DM. Some don't think they could hack it.

      There have always been HORRIBLE DMS. (I WUZ 1!). Today. The modules are generally better. The Price is cheaper to dm (especially if you limit the books). With net access you have the world to help with your game.

      WE WANT YOU! WE WANT YOU! WE WANT YOU TO DM TOO! (jasper slaps all you players with his glove). If you have a nice group pick up the screen and dm.

      AND I CURSE YOU WITH MY CURSE!
      MAY YOU HAVE SEVEN PLAYERS AND SIX DMS AND NO WAITING!

      rant is over.
    1. Tony Vargas -
      Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
      EYES HATES @TonyVargas Getting dozens of players at the drop of push pin. WHERE? What did you lace the note with? Did you offer free cookies. Ok. Enough ragging on Tony.
      Lol. /a/ dozen. Height of the fad, greater suburban area near SF, like a million people w/in a 40 mile radius, served by just a few such hobby shops.

      IMXP 5E especially Adventure League is easy to run. The rules are consistent. No roll high to hit, roll low to find secret doors, the spells are the same regardless of which class is tossing them about.
      OK, those are valid comparisons of 5e being less baroque than 1e, yeah... You could say the same of 3e relative to 1e. Except there was no AL, you'd have to say RPGA... OK, or PFS, today.

      I have to say, though, Encounters was /much/ easier to run than AL. The seasons of 13wks covered a complete adventure, which you got for free, and was a little thing, like an old-school module, not an AP. Play progressed at an encounter and/or SC a week, you hardly had to read anything /but/ the bit you were running that week. When a table would get over 7 players you'd just split it, one of the players'd be able to run, even if they'd never done it before, because it was just one encounter, all blocked out for you.

      That was simplified beyond running a campaign, of course, even one where you did use modules, but even if you were running an all-original campaign, statting NPCs, designing encounters, were a breeze compared to any other ed - Skill Challenges, to do well, took a bit of artistry, though, but there was really nothing to compare them too...


      There have been always a shortage of DM. Due some of the players don't want to put up with BS they throw out as player. Some people have bad players who want to tick off the DM. Some don't think they could hack it.
      There have always been HORRIBLE DMS. (I WUZ 1!). Today. The modules are generally better. The Price is cheaper to dm (especially if you limit the books). With net access you have the world to help with your game.
      WE WANT YOU! WE WANT YOU! WE WANT YOU TO DM TOO! (jasper slaps all you players with his glove). If you have a nice group pick up the screen and dm.
      I'm not sure I followed all that. But if I did, I applaud your enthusiasm.

      AND I CURSE YOU WITH MY CURSE!
      MAY YOU HAVE SEVEN PLAYERS AND SIX DMS AND NO WAITING!

      rant is over.
      lol
    1. BookBarbarian's Avatar
      BookBarbarian -
      Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
      Hate console games.
      You just made me panic thinking BG3 wasn't getting a PC release.
    1. darjr's Avatar
      darjr -
      Quote Originally Posted by Tony Vargas View Post
      There was, and it didn't go over so well - got derided as 'Player Entitlement' & 'not really D&D' - in part for precisely that reason.

      Part of the D&D mystique /is/ that gulf between player and DM. Narrow it too much and you get a backlash.
      Ha! A veiled edition jab! I ran so very much 4e and it wore me out to the point I really would be happy never running it again (except for 4e Gamma World, that’s so much silly fun).

      I wouldn’t be surprised if more people DMed for the first time with 5e than have ever DMd 4e. I’d say that 5e is MUCH easier to pick up and run, it’s certainly far more forgiving to a DM, imho.
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