D&D Increases Its Lead In Orr Groups Q3 2015 Report

It's that time again! Every quarter or so, we get stats from The Orr Group, Fantasy Grounds, and ICv2. Usually, they all say the same thing - over the last year, they've all been saying that Dungeons & Dragons has retaken its #1 market position from Pathfinder. The Orr Group's Q3 2015 (that's July - September) stats just came in. The Orr Group maintains the Roll20 virtual tabletop app, which has over a million users. These stats indicate that D&D has held on to its overall lead, and that for the first time the player count is the highest, as opposed to just the number of games.

Below, as usual, I present the stats. D&D leads Pathfinder by 10% in terms of number of games, and by 3% in terms of number of players. I'm not sure how to interpret those two different figures - but I'm sure you will in the comments! Interestingly, D&D 4E is higher than any non-D&D-derived (by which I include Pathfinder) game - D&D and its derivatives have nearly 70% of the number of games played. As Monte Cook once observed in an interview I conducted with him and Shanna Germain, it's interesting that the top spots are being vied for by variations of Dungeons & Dragons by a BIG margin.


Orr Group's previous report is here. In that report D&D had 25% of the number of games, and 31% of the number of players, and now it has 30% and 41% respectively. That's some growth. Pathfinder has dropped very slightly (and it is slight) to 20% and 37% from 21% and 40%.

Also see the ICv2 figures from the last few years (I expect new figures soon). They say much the same thing, especially the Spring 2015 ICv2 report, as, indeed, did Fantasy Grounds' latest report (although now they're officially licensed by WotC their stats are probably not as useful).
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Well, that was fun
Staff member
Why is Dungeon World separated from "Apocalypse World System" Games? It seems like an arbitrary split that puts both entries further down the list.

It's what gamers self selected, I assume. You can add the numbers together if you want. The data is there for you to do what you want with.

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Well, that was fun
Staff member
Just weird that they would offer two categories like that when they bundle up other games.

Does it matter?

Anywhere they subdivide is better, as that provides more detail. Those two categories are much more informative than the one giant smooshed Star Wars category is. Or one giant smooshed D&D category would be. You can add subdivisions together, but you can't split up combined categories.

Subdivision FTW!

I think we underestimate the number of players out there who don't buy new books. I mean, good grief, even though there hasn't been a new 3.5 book out in years, there's still hundreds, if not thousands (if you count 3pp) titles for the line. There's enough modules for 3.5 to essentially play forever and never have to write a single adventure. Dozens of settings and whatnot. And, because of the Hypertext SRD, you can play 3.5 with very little buy in.

Yes, I know Pathfinder has an online srd as well, but, those who started and stayed with 3e have no real reason to change, and the Pathfinder books are so darn thick, and you still only have a single setting with a solid wall of adventures deeply buried in that single setting, I think it becomes somewhat impenetrable for new players.

What blows my mind is you have one MILLION players on Roll20. Holy CRAP! Online play has landed and it's here to stay.

I've been running (and now playing) in a fortnightly 3.5E campaign since 2006. We've had 4 campaigns in that time, with the shortest one still going from 3rd level to about 10th-11th level.

I've discovered that running high-level 3.5E D&D isn't as much fun as it sounds, but the lower levels are still a lot of fun. I own all of the 3.5E "Complete" books, along with a number of other WotC 3.5E sourcebooks such as MIC, RC, SC as well as the various MM's, Heroes of X, Races of X, etc.

There's that much crunch in all of those books that my group hasn't even got close to trying out all of base classes, let alone all the extra feats, spells, PrC and magic items. Plus I've got that many 3.5E adventures that I could easily run another dozen campaigns and still have a heap of adventures still to run.

The only reason we're going to switch to 5E after our current campaign ends is because we've started to see the "cracks" in the system and are looking for something that's a little less work to run.

At least now I feel like I've gotten a bit more value for money from all of those 3.XE books sitting on my shelf.


Even if the numbers are wonky, even if we take 10% of those numbers, that still means there's a 100, 000 players on Roll20. That's FANTASTIC. That's HUGE.

I've been saying it for years that I could never, ever understand why none of the game publishers would stand up and create a VTT for their game. It still absolutely baffles me why no one is doing this. Heck, WOTC still outsources to Fantasy Grounds to license the VTT. It's a huge, growing market that is not going to go away.

It must be a lot harder to create a VTT that I think it is, because this can't be that huge of an investment.


Hussar, PCGen has had continuous development for 16 years, with a team of generally 2-6 code monkeys the entire time. There is AFAIK (I'm going to check with the code guys) more than 100k lines of code in JUST the engine, not including the data. That is JUST for a character generator, which a VTT will have to understand a good chunk of that info. Then pile the graphical overlay into it, networking, etc. And then add in the fact that any RPG is an exception based system. The very next book that comes out might break your entire code base because it includes something that can't be handled by the current codebase.

The reason you are seeing a rise of VTT's in the last few years is because of the rise of game engine's like Unity. Everything doesn't have to be built in-house anymore. Just the custom things you need to hook into the stable game engine.

edit: Proves I'm not in code, I had wildly over estimated the lines of code.
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Elvish Lore

For me, I'm kind of shocked how terrible the Iron Kingdoms is doing on this chart. I know Roll20 isn't representative of the entire rpg community at all but it's not an entirely invalid look at what's popular.

Given how little support the game is given by the publisher nowadays, I guess IK has really tanked for Privateer Press.


It must be a lot harder to create a VTT that I think it is, because this can't be that huge of an investment.

I will second what has already been said. The two top RPG companies both invested in making their own VTT. In both cases, they got fairly far along in the very beginning and it looked like they were much farther along than they actually were. After an initial investment, both projects were canceled or just stalled indefinitely.

Fantasy Grounds was written in 2004 originally and then was updated continuously until I bought the company in 2009. It has been continuously updated since that time again. Each of our rulesets is like a separate VTT project build, as well, but we are at least able to build upon a common core of functionality. We have several full-time, highly skilled professional developers working on it and around 30 or so community developers who work on anything from content to pure programming. We recently added Carl Pinder, who wrote Tabletop Connect from the ground up in Unity. He is another highly skilled, professional video game developer and he spent an unknown amount of time developing something for a Kickstarter that he launched in August 2008 and then spent the last two years continuing to develop it.

I also know the stories of several other VTT companies, because we often talk with each other and I know that they have similarly invested years (or decades) worth of coding. It's a challenging problem to solve and the expectations by consumers are very high. When you combine that with constantly changing requirements (i.e. new editions or RPG product releases), it just becomes untenable to expect even a big RPG publisher to build their own system and also continue to produce their existing content.

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