ICv2 Reports Disappointing Year For Hobby Games Channel: TTRPGs Down, D&D Declines 30%

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According to ICv2, 2023 was a tough year for hobby game sales. The US and Canada market increased by just 1%, which was less than the rate of inflation, growing from $2.86 billion in 2022 to $2.89 billion in 2023.

The hobby game sales channel is defined as specialist game and card stores--it doesn't include Amazon, direct sales, etc. It does include Kickstarter.

Top Hobby Channel TTRPGs (2023)
  1. Dungeons & Dragons (WotC)
  2. Pathfinder (Paizo)
  3. Cyberpunk Red (R. Talsorian)
  4. World of Darkness (Renegade Game Studios)
  5. Starfinder (Paizo)
  6. Warhammer 40K (Cubicle 7)
  7. Marvel Multiverse Roleplaying (Marvel)
  8. Kobold 5E Books (Kobold Press)
  9. Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium)
  10. Pirate Borg (Free League)
The only two categories to grow in 2023 were collectibles and miniatures. All other categories--board games, card games, and roleplaying games--were down. ICv2 reports a 30% hobby store sales decline for Dungeons & Dragons specifically, citing the impending new edition and lackluster movie performance, and the tail end of a pandemic-fuelled high; they also report that while the OGL crisis of last year impacted some lifestyle gamers, newer players as a whole were oblivious to the situation. The other important element ICv2 mentioned was D&D's increasing move to digital, which impacted retail sales.

Older D&D players, says ICv2, are also migrating to other games, with Pathfinder as one of the major beneficiaries.

The last 6 years has seen much larger growth rates--partly fuelled by the pandemic--ranging from 10% to 30%. 2022 saw a 7% growth over 2021. Despite the small increase, 2023 represents the 15th year of growth for the overall market. ICv2 does predict a market decline in 2024, though.

ICv2 conducts periodical surveys and speaks to publishers, distributors, and retailers, along with publicly available company information and Kickstarter data.
 

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AstroCat

Adventurer
30% hobby store sales decline for Dungeons & Dragons and Older D&D players, are also migrating to other games - Yep this 100% makes sense, the peak is over and the fad is dispensing, the foundational fanbase severely alienated and dispersed thanks to mean spirited spite and venom from wotc. This trend will only continue, just wait till "6e" drops, then the real "pain" begins, and rightfully so. How's that "modern audience" working out for you wotc? You could have had it all, new, old and all in-between, 2014 started strong as heck and then over the last few years, absolute awfulness at mach 10.
 

Reynard

Legend
30% hobby store sales decline for Dungeons & Dragons and Older D&D players, are also migrating to other games - Yep this 100% makes sense, the peak is over and the fad is dispensing, the foundational fanbase severely alienated and dispersed thanks to mean spirited spite and venom from wotc. This trend will only continue, just wait till "6e" drops, then the real "pain" begins, and rightfully so. How's that "modern audience" working out for you wotc? You could have had it all, new, old and all in-between, 2014 started strong as heck and then over the last few years, absolute awfulness at mach 10.
I doubt it. I think the next generation aren't that interested in dead tree versions of books, and even if they are, they are likely getting them from Amazon not hobby shops. Remember when record sales plummeted and everyone thought music was dead?
 

30% hobby store sales decline for Dungeons & Dragons and Older D&D players, are also migrating to other games - Yep this 100% makes sense, the peak is over and the fad is dispensing, the foundational fanbase severely alienated and dispersed thanks to mean spirited spite and venom from wotc. This trend will only continue, just wait till "6e" drops, then the real "pain" begins, and rightfully so. How's that "modern audience" working out for you wotc? You could have had it all, new, old and all in-between, 2014 started strong as heck and then over the last few years, absolute awfulness at mach 10.
Sounds pretty personal to you. I am almost 50 and still playing 5E so not all older players are switching.
 

I doubt it. I think the next generation aren't that interested in dead tree versions of books, and even if they are, they are likely getting them from Amazon not hobby shops. Remember when record sales plummeted and everyone thought music was dead?
Well it did plummet, but you are right, it was also far from dead. Might be a similar case here.
And I also agree that we would need at least some indication on Amazon sales data and digital sales on D&D Beyond to get the full picture (with 40+, I'm not sure if I qualify as "next generation", but these days, 80% of my hobby purchases are digital).
 
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AstroCat

Adventurer
Sounds pretty personal to you. I am almost 50 and still playing 5E so not all older players are switching.
We also still play our share of 5e, more or less the 2014 version that was awesome. When 5e came out the scene and "vibe" was fantastic. It was awesome. We even did tons of AL at cons, full on, we were big supporters. It's only been the last few years that it took a hard turn into awfulness and misery, we've completed lost faith at this point in wotc. Their "attitude" and objectives don't align with ours at all. They are alienating their foundational customer base, and it will come back to haunt them, as the fad dies out.
 

AstroCat

Adventurer
I doubt it. I think the next generation aren't that interested in dead tree versions of books, and even if they are, they are likely getting them from Amazon not hobby shops. Remember when record sales plummeted and everyone thought music was dead?
Interestingly enough I also buy almost all digital "books" these days. Tons and tons of physical terrain, minis and hobby stuff but "books" all digital. Let's just see how "6e" does.
 

Reynard

Legend
We also still play our share of 5e, more or less the 2014 version that was awesome. When 5e came out the scene and "vibe" was fantastic. It was awesome. We even did tons of AL at cons, full on, we were big supporters. It's only been the last few years that it took a hard turn into awfulness and misery, we've completed lost faith at this point in wotc. Their "attitude" and objectives don't align with ours at all. They are alienating their foundational customer base, and it will come back to haunt them, as the fad dies out.
People say stuff like this a lot and I can't really figure out what they are talking about. Can you articulate what changed so dramatically in the last few years that makes you feel like "current 5E" isn't the same game as it was in 2014?
 

Well it did plummet, but you are right, it was also far from dead. Might be a similar case here.
But I also agree that we would need at least some indication on Amazon sales data and digital sales on D&D Beyond to get the full picture (with 40+, I'm not sure if I qualify as "next generation", but these days, 80% of my hobby purchases are digital).
For sure. Truth is I have bought less from my local hobby store as their prices have sky rocketed and more from Amazon and places like Miniature Market and Game Nerdz that offer significant discounts. Not to mention backing things in Kickstarter.
 

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