D&D In The Mainstream - Again!

With the latest mainstream article (this time the New York Times for the second time this year!) from a major news outlet covering the resurgence of D&D, I thought I'd take a quick look at similar articles which have appeared on the radar of major newspapers and broadcasters recently, including The Guardian, the BBC, the Washington Post, and more!

merlin_164220960_81de6c63-179c-48d9-b21a-fa977a9f502b-superJumbo.jpg

Image from NYT, depicting live-streamed D&D show "Rivals of Waterdeep"


Just yesterday, the Washington Examiner joined in. Forbes also covers the game fairly regularly. It's pretty amazing that this hobby is now appearing in mainstream media on a regular basis. There's a major mainstream article every couple of months now, it seems. The articles are usually very similar -- the surprising revelation of the "rise" or "resurgence" of D&D, and reports that D&D is now 'out of the basement', a few words from somebody at WotC about how the current year is the best year yet, and perhaps an interview with a gamer or two explaining why they think D&D is resurgent now, as well as quotes from a celebrity gamer.

The New York Times was surprised about the popularity of D&D twice this year - this week on D&D's resurgence, and back in April on "why the cool kids are playing Dungeons & Dragons". The Times looks at the strangeness of D&D becoming cool, while the Washington Post wonders how D&D became more popular than ever. IGN explains the recent surge in popularity, and the Guardian tells us we're no longer nerds because D&D is cool now (update: and then again in November). The BBC covers the phenomenon, as does Australia's ABC.

It'll be fun to see what comes next, if D&D's resurgence becomes no longer 'news' but accepted fact, and the outlets get to report on more focused aspects of the hobby -- hopefully the coverage won't die down. It's come some way since 2004 when the BBC asked "What happened to Dungeons & Dragons?" They've certainly got to stop being surprised at the resurgence soon!
With a bit of Googling, you can also uncover a ton of local news outlets which have covered the game, such as the Liverpool Echo, the Oxford Observer, the Washington Examiner, or the Chicago Daily Herald, as well as many comic book and general geek sites. D&D is everywhere!

I'm sure there are more! Those are just the ones I remember off the top of my head.
 
Last edited:
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Mistwell

Hero
D&D's on the up for the first time since 83.

It's very close to the Golden age, probably biggest selling ever.

It not as big relative to the Golden Age with population growth. It's doing great overall.
Again your Golden Age number was not a "D&D" figure, it was a "TSR" figure, complete with video game, cartoon, coloring book, shrinky dinks, board games, etc. figures in it.
 
What are you saying?
I am saying, that right now, i think there is a misleading affect.

Culture. D&d has moved into the second major phase of cultural penetration. That tends to come with a major uptick in consumption. And although i think 5e is better designed than some previous editions i have serious doubt about the health of the hoby's longevity. Because i think the honeymoon effect is in play.

First phase. Highly turbulent peak of early popularity with some minor ups and downs but a major bell shaoe over all then a down swoop.

Second phase. The mainstream feels comfortable with it in a non countercultural way but with this increased dependancy on basically mainstream fans comes increased vulnerability if the main mass of population suddenly has a reason to ditch.

That's what im worried about. IMO 5e is the first edition fully in the second major phase of cultural penetration. Its a period that a lot of hobbies get lulled into a false sense of security.

I hope this made it more clear.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
I am saying, that right now, i think there is a misleading affect.

Culture. D&d has moved into the second major phase of cultural penetration. That tends to come with a major uptick in consumption. And although i think 5e is better designed than some previous editions i have serious doubt about the health of the hoby's longevity. Because i think the honeymoon effect is in play.

First phase. Highly turbulent peak of early popularity with some minor ups and downs but a major bell shaoe over all then a down swoop.

Second phase. The mainstream feels comfortable with it in a non countercultural way but with this increased dependancy on basically mainstream fans comes increased vulnerability if the main mass of population suddenly has a reason to ditch.

That's what im worried about. IMO 5e is the first edition fully in the second major phase of cultural penetration. Its a period that a lot of hobbies get lulled into a false sense of security.

I hope this made it more clear.
No, I don't think I understand.

Are you saying that 5e is popular but it's not really popular because it is the first time it has become popular?

No matter how you slice it, it's popular.

Do you remember 4e? People have said over and over again that 5e is only successful because of the internet and such, but really, 4e. There was internet then. D&D was dying. People thought 5e was probably the end and Pathfinder was the future.

D&D 5e exists in the same space as boardgames now. They entered the mainstream 15-20 years ago and they're not going away either. People like to socialize in person away from screens and with tangible objects.

Will the rate of sales stop climbing? Of course it will. It can't climb forever. RPGs will reach a stable equilibrium far above the $15 million/year they used to be at the end of 4e. Well, until the collapse of the economy creates the next great depression and climate change kills us all. Nothing lasts forever.
 
No, I don't think I understand.

Are you saying that 5e is popular but it's not really popular because it is the first time it has become popular?

No matter how you slice it, it's popular.

Do you remember 4e? People have said over and over again that 5e is only successful because of the internet and such, but really, 4e. There was internet then. D&D was dying. People thought 5e was probably the end and Pathfinder was the future.

D&D 5e exists in the same space as boardgames now. They entered the mainstream 15-20 years ago and they're not going away either. People like to socialize in person away from screens and with tangible objects.

Will the rate of sales stop climbing? Of course it will. It can't climb forever. RPGs will reach a stable equilibrium far above the $15 million/year they used to be at the end of 4e. Well, until the collapse of the economy creates the next great depression and climate change kills us all. Nothing lasts forever.
nope. im not saying its the first time its popular. Or that its an effect of the internet. Although that probably helps. Thats not what im talking about though. Also board games have been mainstream for a looooong time. I dont know why you are saying boardgames have only been part of the mainstream briefly. I dont think thats even close to true. Unless you mean d&d board games. Not sure how long thats been a thing.

Im saying 5e is probably in a differemt KIND of popularity than previous editions. Culturally. Yes there have been other popular editions. Not just talking about popularity though. Im talking about cultural penetration and the stages of that. And how that affects popularity over a long term.
 
No, I don't think I understand.

Are you saying that 5e is popular but it's not really popular because it is the first time it has become popular?

No matter how you slice it, it's popular.

Do you remember 4e? People have said over and over again that 5e is only successful because of the internet and such, but really, 4e. There was internet then. D&D was dying. People thought 5e was probably the end and Pathfinder was the future.

D&D 5e exists in the same space as boardgames now. They entered the mainstream 15-20 years ago and they're not going away either. People like to socialize in person away from screens and with tangible objects.

Will the rate of sales stop climbing? Of course it will. It can't climb forever. RPGs will reach a stable equilibrium far above the $15 million/year they used to be at the end of 4e. Well, until the collapse of the economy creates the next great depression and climate change kills us all. Nothing lasts forever.
also roleplaying was very popular during the great depression in spite of lack of money to buy, oh well, everything. Mostly an aside. But yeah. Roleplaying got super popular. Escapism thrives when you live in hell.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
nope. im not saying its the first time its popular. Or that its an effect of the internet. Although that probably helps. Thats not what im talking about though. Also board games have been mainstream for a looooong time. I dont know why you are saying boardgames have only been part of the mainstream briefly. I dont think thats even close to true. Unless you mean d&d board games. Not sure how long thats been a thing.
Hobby boardgames, not games for children.

They were a market of $370 million in 2018 compared to RPG's $65 million.

The boom started with Settlers of Catan (which was released in 1995 in Germany) though hobby games didn't take off until some time later. Somewhere between 2000-2005 (2004 saw the creation of Ticket to Ride so I think using a period of 15 years is probably safe).

Im saying 5e is probably in a differemt KIND of popularity than previous editions. Culturally. Yes there have been other popular editions. Not just talking about popularity though. Im talking about cultural penetration and the stages of that. And how that affects popularity over a long term.
Yes, most 5e players were not RPG players before the edition.

I get that.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say with that information.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
also roleplaying was very popular during the great depression in spite of lack of money to buy, oh well, everything. Mostly an aside. But yeah. Roleplaying got super popular. Escapism thrives when you live in hell.
Not the roleplaying we're talking about. They didn't get invented until 40 years later.

I'm just saying, RPG sales will take a hit when capitalism collapses.
 
Hobby boardgames, not games for children.

They were a market of $370 million in 2018 compared to RPG's $65 million.

The boom started with Settlers of Catan (which was released in 1995 in Germany) though hobby games didn't take off until some time later. Somewhere between 2000-2005 (2004 saw the creation of Ticket to Ride so I think using a period of 15 years is probably safe).



Yes, most 5e players were not RPG players before the edition.

I get that.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say with that information.
ah. good point with the board games. I get it now.

And about the rest of it, eh...just nevermind

🤷‍♀️
 
Not the roleplaying we're talking about. They didn't get invented until 40 years later.

I'm just saying, RPG sales will take a hit when capitalism collapses.
What im trying to get at is relevant to the potential difference between ttrpg's taking a hit or going extinct. But like i said. Nevermind.

Also if the games had been invented a good 15 years prior, they wouldcve played them a lot.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
What im trying to get at is relevant to the potential difference between ttrpg's taking a hit or going extinct. But like i said. Nevermind.

Also if the games had been invented a good 15 years prior, they wouldcve played them a lot.
I think you're taking my comment about the apocalypse a bit too seriously.
 

ad_hoc

Adventurer
Gotta build d&d to live in cycles. Not just the moment.

I think you get it.
Right, but what does that mean?

Are you advocating for a new edition?

I don't get what you're trying to get across.

I think D&D is built to be evergreen already. Are you saying it isn't?

My understanding of what you said is that it would be good for D&D to continue to be popular. I agree. Do you think there is something that needs to be changed for that to happen?
 
Right, but what does that mean?

Are you advocating for a new edition?

I don't get what you're trying to get across.

I think D&D is built to be evergreen already. Are you saying it isn't?

My understanding of what you said is that it would be good for D&D to continue to be popular. I agree. Do you think there is something that needs to be changed for that to happen?
Im saying that i think it was (built to be evergreen)
And that it IS
But less than i think it used to be
And i think popularity is good
But maximum popularity and maximum accessibility is deceptively not the healthiest level of popularity
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Just yesterday, the Washington Examiner joined in. Forbes also covers the game fairly regularly. It's pretty amazing that this hobby is now appearing in mainstream media on a regular basis. There's a major mainstream article every couple of months now, it seems. The articles are usually very similar -- the surprising revelation of the "rise" or "resurgence" of D&D, and reports that D&D is now 'out of the basement', a few words from somebody at WotC about how the current year is the best year yet, and perhaps an interview with a gamer or two explaining why they think D&D is resurgent now.
Reads like a paid-for advertisement.
I think they’ve said that in every article for the last couple of years.
Do we have any mass media professionals around who can comment on the odds of some of this publicity actually being paid advertising?

Because as @OldGeezer69 notes, some of it sounds like advertising. And as @Morrus notes, the articles are a little, hmm, boilerplate?
 
Do we have any mass media professionals around who can comment on the odds of some of this publicity actually being paid advertising?

Because as @OldGeezer69 notes, some of it sounds like advertising. And as @Morrus notes, the articles are a little, hmm, boilerplate?
IGN perhaps?

Other than that, the likes of the BBC, Guardian and Washington Post are as reputable as the media can get.

The BBC is state funded and prevented by law from earning money through advertising.
 

Aaron L

Adventurer
People like to socialize in person away from screens and with tangible objects.
This, right here, is why I believe D&D is so popular now. People want an "excuse" to get away from their social media accounts and gather together to actually interact with other live human beings in a personal, meaningful way, and having a structured game with which to do so feels like a better reason than just "aimlessly" hanging out.

I really hope it's an indication of an end for social media taking over people's lives, as more people just get sick of the grotesque things and the harmful warping effects they have on our culture.
 

Mistwell

Hero
This, right here, is why I believe D&D is so popular now. People want an "excuse" to get away from their social media accounts and gather together to actually interact with other live human beings in a personal, meaningful way, and having a structured game with which to do so feels like a better reason than just "aimlessly" hanging out.

I really hope it's an indication of an end for social media taking over people's lives, as more people just get sick of the grotesque things and the harmful warping effects they have on our culture.
So the D&D game is taking some of the same place the local bar (pub) took in generations past?

I can buy that. Though I am seeing a lot more people play D&D at my local bar (sorry - "ale brewing company, manufacturing fine craft beers, ales and ciders"), combining activities.
 

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