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D&D 5E D&D Up 35% In 2020 While Virtual Play Rises 86%

In this article from the Los Angeles Times, WotC's Liz Schuh shared a couple of interesting statistics: D&D revenues increased 35% in 2020 over 2019; and online play is up 86% (for obvious reasons).


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The LA Times published a similar article a couple of months ago. See my big list of articles about D&D in the meanstream!
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

Yeah. VTT has been a game changer for me. I doubt I will return to face to face gaming on a regular basis. The odd convention game or the annual weekend of gaming with the old friends. Otherwise you can't beat the convenience of VTT, being able to play with people not in my immediate area, the ability to play shorter sessions on weeknights with family in the next room, etc.
This has been my experience as well. I hadn't played since around 2010 or so, when various of our regular group had kids, moved to far-flung outer suburbs, or had significant health problems. With everyone stuck inside due to Covid and going a bit nuts in lockdown, we got the band (mostly) back together, started up again over VTT and it's been a game changer for us.

I'm in a country where covid is basically beaten, but our group is still playing online and are almost certain to remain that way. The convenience of not having to travel to a game, and being able to game with people far away. And just the upside of the VTT tools over pen and paper gaming - cutting out the continual graph-paper mapping mess, and the annoyance when you don't have the right miniatures to represent the monsters, and trying to keep track of initiative and monster hit point counts with pen and paper when 50 orcs attack ... urgh.
 

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embee

Lawyer by day. Rules lawyer by night.
Yeah. VTT has been a game changer for me. I doubt I will return to face to face gaming on a regular basis. The odd convention game or the annual weekend of gaming with the old friends. Otherwise you can't beat the convenience of VTT, being able to play with people not in my immediate area, the ability to play shorter sessions on weeknights with family in the next room, etc.
VTT has been a life changer for me.

When the lockdowns started, my sister reached out to see if I could GM a game. I suggested we have an all-sibs game. She and her husband live in Albany, I live in Maryland, my brother is in Richmond, and my other sibling and their husband live in Fredericksburg. We have been running weekly 4-hour sessions every Saturday night since April.

Just having a weekly family "get-together" every week is a huge emotional boon for me. And I have D&D and Roll20 to thank for it.
 

Actually, it is not too bad to think about new edition, when the old one is on its top. It is just making the right choices, upgrading where an upgrade helps and being backwards compatible enough to not invalidate tooo much of older stuff.
Maybe even having upgrades for oler stuff online at day one would help.

I mean. If you think about a new edition now, you don´t have pressure to realase it in an unfinished way. Instead you have all the time preparing to rol it out.

Let´s give an example here:
subclasses:
lets assume that in a new edition, all subclasses have features at the same levels and bonus actions are gone.
An update booklet can give quick fixes for many subclasses. Telling you which action to use and at what level you gain a feature, etc.
 

ccooke

Adventurer
I've been wondering what an updated version of 5e might look like, and I'm really not sure.

I don't think there's any chance of a new edition within the foreseeable future. But there is now a lot more material for it, and there's been some talk about a more compiled edition - a 2e to 5e's 1e. The problem there is what that would mean, though - one of the big things that matters to WotC in 5e is there PHB+1 rule. It helps to keep their organised play sane and helps to simplify the playtesting necessary. I think that any compiled/condensed release would need a lot of additional playtesting of all the new options against each other. For that reason alone, I don't think we're going to get any sort of condensed books any time soon (I could see a PHB with the artificer added to it, because that is currently an issue for the PHB+1 rule, but that falls into issues with page count).

Condensed books would also directly cannibalise sales of the source books, so again - while XGtE and TCoE are doing well, I don't see any redone PHB with any of their content.

Maybe an updated PHB with rewritten chargen will come out, once that's fully settled. That I could see as a thing, in 3-4 years. Maybe some 5e 10th anniversary updates?
 

Of my two groups, I honestly don't know what's going to happen with them. The one takes place (or rather, used to) at a gaming cafe, so going back to in-person gaming is additionally contingent on them reopening and wanting to continue hosting D&D in the future.

Likewise, I had never played in an online game prior to the pandemic. I got up and running pretty quickly, but there was a period of about two weeks where I think I tried out every VTT platform's demos trying to see which one worked best for me.

Agreed. Of my 3 games, one will go back to in person, but one now includes friends that aren't local so that one is staying on Roll20, and the third will be in-person or virtual depending on the DM. One of the silver linings of COVID-19 has been more time for D&D and connecting with long-distance friends to play again. I had never played in a virtual game before the pandemic, but for me at least it's here to stay.
 

TheSword

Legend
Interesting that the marketing quote in the article states 7th consecutive year of growth. Meaning 8 years ago and potentially before the company profits were declining. I’ve never seen the negative impact of 4e and competition from Paizo spelled out in financial terms. Glad they turned it around. In that regard perhaps 5e can be considered the most successful edition so far.
 

cmad1977

Hero
Dang. I mean, I know a lot of this is because of COVID and once people can go back to other activities the increase will likely drop, but that kind of growth at this point in the lifecycle is incredible. Especially considering the year after year increases we've seen since the release of 5E.

Maybe we can stop speculating about 6E coming out any day now? :unsure: On second thought, never mind. I'm sure someone can come up with a reason to show that this will lead to a new edition being released soon. :p

I was told, years ago now, by VERY SMART PEOPLE, that 5e was dying on the vine.

Still waiting on the funeral though.
 




dave2008

Legend
I've been wondering what an updated version of 5e might look like, and I'm really not sure.
I see an updated 5e having little new material, so it wouldn't need much if any playtesting. I see it including their new lineage / culture character creation rules, adding stuff from XGtE & TCoE (not all the subclasses), maybe a revised ranger, and a few other tweaks. The errata and rules clarifications to make RAI more clear. Maybe clean up a few subsystems, but nothing that really changes the way the game is played.
 





MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
"But Wizards is failing D&D and Hasbro is going to sell it!?"

It'll be interesting to see what happens with that massive increase in online play. I think it will decrease if we can ever get through the pandemic, but I don't think it will decrease as quickly or drastically as one might think.

I don't know. It may be more like what I expect you'll see with business. Many companies were skeptical about the feasibility and effectiveness of telecommuting and resisted the trend. COVID forced companies to adapt and many have learned that telecommuting can be as—or more—efficient and effective, and certainly more cost-effective, than paying for large amounts of office space.

Many gamers, myself included, resisted VTTs until that was the only way could continue our games. While I'm looking forward to running in-person games again, I will continue to run games remotely by VTT and integrate my VTT into in-person games.
 

Scribe

Hero
Download the Origins playtest document and find out. It’s been there for nearly 5 months now.
Done, so its on Background instead, with no tie to Heritage (Race) or Culture, and further ASI as you level (looking at Fighter and Rogue classes for example).

Oh well.
 

Don't take my bonus actions away! It's really important for interesting monster design — it allows you to say the monster can do this interesting thing on its turn OR that interesting thing on its turn, but not both.
Or you write: the monster can do one of the following things once per turn.

Actually I am a big fan of bonus actions, giving the rogue a meaningful choice each turn and a choice between one handed and two handed.
On the other hand they force choices between actions that are nit really related.
I don't have a great solution to that problem however.
 


There's a lot to be said for the convenience of online play and the advantages of some of the platforms. Another factor is that the anxieties of being around people in person aren't going to go away easily. I totally miss going to conventions, but the thought of being around that many people is just panic-inducing right now, and that sort of fear doesn't fade easily.

I don't know. It may be more like what I expect you'll see with business. Many companies were skeptical about the feasibility and effectiveness of telecommuting and resisted the trend. COVID forced companies to adapt and many have learned that telecommuting can be as—or more—efficient and effective, and certainly more cost-effective, than paying for large amounts of office space.

Many gamers, myself included, resisted VTTs until that was the only way could continue our games. While I'm looking forward to running in-person games again, I will continue to run games remotely by VTT and integrate my VTT into in-person games.
 

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