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The Washington Post Weighs In On D&D!

Russ Morrissey

Comments

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Honestly that is the first thing I thought. I have had friends assume we dress up and put on elf ears when playing D&D since it seems they see that a lot when they come across some random article or picture of D&D players.
As someone in their mid-40s who started playing TTRPGs in the mid-80s, I have to admit to similar knee-jerk reactions. But I quickly realized that many of us have become the bullies. Some people like to dress up for their games. Who cares? Cosplay has become an impressive hobby. What does it say about us that we worry that how others enjoy the game will make us look silly? It is decades of ridicule and bullying that many in our hobby experienced that, thankfully, is far less prevalent today, which allows folks to enjoy and express themselves openly in ways we could not.

Other than the crappy employment opportunities, I'd love to be in my teens and 20s today.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Unfortunately, they included one of my least favorite tropes from mainstream articles about RPGs; you can find some variation of the "No longer is it a game to hide out with in Mom’s basement." line in almost every one of these articles.
Yeah, it caters to outdated stereotypes that were not particularly true "back in the day." To me, it seems more true of the 90s than the 80s. In the 80s it was played in schools, libraries, and was depicted in mainstream films like ET as no different than any other family game played at the kitchen table.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Was WotC responsible for taking away penalties to Strength for female characters? That’s not my recollection.
 

Birmy

Explorer
Unfortunately, they included one of my least favorite tropes from mainstream articles about RPGs; you can find some variation of the "No longer is it a game to hide out with in Mom’s basement." line in almost every one of these articles.
Yup! As a comic book geek, our equivalent is the (mercifully declining) "POW! WHAM! BIFF! Comics aren't just for kids anymore!" line. Writers trying to "write their way in" to an article fall for it every time.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
As someone in their mid-40s who started playing TTRPGs in the mid-80s, I have to admit to similar knee-jerk reactions. But I quickly realized that many of us have become the bullies. Some people like to dress up for their games. Who cares? Cosplay has become an impressive hobby. What does it say about us that we worry that how others enjoy the game will make us look silly? It is decades of ridicule and bullying that many in our hobby experienced that, thankfully, is far less prevalent today, which allows folks to enjoy and express themselves openly in ways we could not.

Other than the crappy employment opportunities, I'd love to be in my teens and 20s today.
Never said I was worried about anything.
 

TerraDave

5ever
People you use to dress and play D&D (at a table) back in the day. Of course, we did all kinds of things back then.

Glad to see so many people doing it now.
 

Orius

Villager
The burning question of the day: Are the people in the picture LARPers or cosplayers? We must discover to which costumed tribe they belong, so that we may know whether to welcome them among us, or drive them hence with wailing and lamentations.
As long as they're not erotic furry fanfic writers who write themselves into slash fics with ocelot Kirk, I'm fine with whatever they do. :D
 

barasawa

Explorer
Did you even read the article (and see the pictures of normal folks playing)? Did you read the caption for the photo where they are a D&D group that enjoys dressing up?
I saw a video of a group playing an RPG with masks.
They all wore masks to represent their characters.
To talk OOC they had to take the mask off.
There were various kinds of masks, and only some were full face.

Actually seemed like a rather fun gaming prop that could help with character/player recognition as well, especially when the player is completely unlike the character.

"Why is Nob wearing a plastic tiara and has a handkerchief over his mouth and beard?"
"Because just like last week, Bob is running Princess Myrrh. Now put your horned helm on, you're a minotaur after all!" B-)
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
40 million.

That's more than the population of Canada!
It is.

In theory, since AD&D was making 100 million dollars in 1992, then the D&D industry should be making 192 million dollars today..AT LEAST.

Though, 40 million is greater by at least 1.5 so that would mean WotC should along be making 280 MILLION DOLLARS!

Or, if we take the 91 million from around 1990 instead, and apply a 1.6 modifier (if we assume the max of 25 million gamers was in 1991 instead of earlier during the fad, which most likely it was not and the number was lower), then we should get around 278 million to be more precise for that period to be more lenient.

278 Million is quite a jump from 65-75 million (or even 55 million) though it might be on it's way to hit the 80-90 million mark (maybe?). I wonder where the money is going or being reported to?

40 million players is great news...but money is better news (well, for some, others, that many players is better news).

Of course, the article may not have meant that D&D is that big, but my impression is that D&D is the biggest kid in town right now.

Maybe the research from the earlier years was flawed however and there were FAR more AD&D players during the 80s and 90s.

If we take that equivalent, than maybe in the early 90s there were something like 60 million AD&D players, the actual RPG market of players was around 70 million, and then it crashed hard to less than a million less than 5 years later?

Or, if we really go money equivalent...maybe AD&D had around 40-50 million during the fad years of the early 80s, and oddly increased to 120 million players (I HIGHLY DOUBT THIS) in the early 90s even as it's presence went down.

Crazy numbers at times when comparing and trying to find the things. I'd LOVE to see them present the actual survey and studies on this to the public. It's hard to figure out the numbers and where they are coming from at times when seeing the different numbers presented at various situations.

Does numbers of players reflect profits or the money generated?

Or, sometimes money doesn't tell the whole story (which is probably the most likely situation).

Interesting news that they now estimate 40 million players. Should be good news for FLGS around the world and those who play at events and such. Really exciting times for players today.

PS: The BIGGEST takeaway from this, as this is around a 25 million player jump over the course of a year to a year and a half, if this is specifically talking about D&D players at 40 million is that there is not going to be a 6th edition for a VERY LOOONG TIME unless someone is absolutely crazy. With growth like that (which should at least have some sales reflection, and sales ARE growing in the D&D arena from what I understand, even if not at the 200 million level) there is no reason to kill the golden goose in it's prime. At least that's my take.

So, for those who are afraid of a 6th edition being made, that should be good news. For those who have been wanting to see a 6th edition, I don't see it happening in my opinion. That would not be a smart move with 5th edition doing so well currently.
 
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ad_hoc

Explorer
If we take that equivalent, than maybe in the early 90s there were something like 60 million AD&D players, the actual RPG market of players was around 70 million, and then it crashed hard to less than a million less than 5 years later?
Gary Gygax estimated that at the height of D&D there were around 5 million players.

Today is peak D&D and it's not even close.

PS: The BIGGEST takeaway from this, as this is around a 25 million player jump over the course of a year to a year and a half, if this is specifically talking about D&D players at 40 million is that there is not going to be a 6th edition for a VERY LOOONG TIME unless someone is absolutely crazy. With growth like that (which should at least have some sales reflection, and sales ARE growing in the D&D arena from what I understand, even if not at the 200 million level) there is no reason to kill the golden goose in it's prime. At least that's my take.
Was that 15 million number just for NA?

The basic rules may be the answer to the discrepancy with money here. It can be expensive to import books.
 
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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Yes. It was 15m in North America, not worldwide. It’s growing, but not *that* fast!
 

5ekyu

Explorer
I think one of the generational forces that likely gives the dnd wave more than just fad surge status is its interactive nature. Today the value placed on interactive vs passive is at a much different place than it was in the 80s - folks at 20+ age in the 80s.

So, by now, you have two to three generations of people who grew up thru interactive media being commonplace and that is a large difference in acceptance.

I expect an ebb and flow but I do not expect it will settle back down anywhere near where it once was.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
Gary Gygax estimated that at the height of D&D there were around 5 million players.

Today is peak D&D and it's not even close.



Was that 15 million number just for NA?

The basic rules may be the answer to the discrepancy with money here. It can be expensive to import books.
The point still holds true though. I do not have an official source to quote, but with 2018 being the best year for RPG sales by WotC yet (which could put it between the 65-75 million range) and some ideas out there that it could be upwards towards the 80-90 million range (once again, no sources I can give you so you can say it's my personal course theory with it) 5th edition is doing really well right now. It's on an upwards trend with money and an expanding customer base. With other departments not doing as hot as expected/wanted currently (such as toys, though marvel is still doing great) I do not see why Hasbro would take the risk of making a new edition currently. With such growth (which I'd say is unprecedented so far under Hasbro with the D&D brand, it's growing larger than it ever has under Hasbro) I don't see any reason for them to kill 5e and make 6th edition.

It's too easy of a way to lose that many customers and rapidly deflate the brand. As long as there is growth I don't see any 6th edition coming. I don't think they should even consider working on it until there are signs of decay or a downward trend. Even at half the numbers it has a customer base far greater than even 3e did at it's height. There's no guarantee a new edition would even be as successful as 3e, so with 5e doing as well as it is, why change things up?

My interpretation of the situation is that there will be no 6th edition for a LOOONG time. You'd have to have a major loss of numbers (players and money) to create a situation to release a new edition presently.

(I have been wrong in predictions before, so they could be making a new edition in stealth. I think it would be suicidal for the department to take that risk and do so, but I have been wrong other times. I just think it is VERY unlikely with the current growth).
 

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