When Gary Gygax, Brian Blume, and Lorraine Williams founded TSR and initially published Dungeons & Dragons (DnD), a table-top role-playing game, in 1974, they never could have imagined its future popularity. Despite the fear-mongering rumors of the 1980s and financial troubles in the 1990s, the game is now bigger than ever before in 2022.
Check out these Dungeons & Dragons statistics:
- 50 million people played DnD to date.
- 40% of players are aged 25 or younger.
- 11% of players are 40 years or older.
- 39% of players identify as female.
- 4.3 billion minutes of DnD content has been watched on Twitch.
- Dungeons & Dragons saw a growth of 33% in sales in 2020.
- In 2020, the Wizards of the Coast has generated a total revenue of $816 million.
As you can see, these statistics tell a pretty great story for Dungeons & Dragons. Since 2014, it’s seen a significant resurgence in interest for a 47-year-old game. Plenty of popular media has referenced the game to bring it back into the public eye after lying dormant for a decade.
Dungeons & Dragons facts
50 million people played Dungeons & Dragons to date.
(Source: Wizards of the Coast)
- TSR originally released Dungeons & Dragons in 1974.
- Wizards of the Coast acquired the company and DnD’s IP in 1997.
- The current edition, fifth, was released in 2014.
TTSR was acquired by Wizards of the Coast in 1997 which itself was acquired by Hasbro just two years later. Considering its humble origins, now on the same level as other board games produced by Hasbro, Dungeons & Dragons has come a long way in the nearly five decades since its invention. It’s been through a few iterations with a possible 5.5 edition in the near future.
Wizards of the Coast generated over $816 million during 2020.
- They saw 24% overall growth during 2020.
- With a 30% increase in DnD book sales the same year.
The global pandemic left people with more time on their hands. So, what did they spend that time doing? Well, it looks like playing DnD. CNBC estimates that existing players took the time to teach their families to play to ease the struggle and give everyone a fun outlet for frustrations.
Dungeons & Dragons demographics
Considering how long this game has existed and how much content Wizards of the Coast has put out, it’s no surprise that many people play. But, who are these players? What’s their real-life story?
Most DnD players (40%) are aged 25 or younger.
(Source: Wizards of the Coast)
- Only 11% of players are over 40.
This was a pretty surprising statistic. The game is nearly 50 years old, but the majority of players are half that age? Since Fifth Edition was released, the focus shifted to storytelling and eliminated a lot of the more complex math, making the game much more appealing to a younger audience.
DnD is not as male dominated as before: 39% of players identify as female.
(Source: Wizards of the Coast)
Wizards of the Coast has been revamping its image for a few years, and it’s clear that their marketing is working. For a game that was mostly known to appeal to older men, it’s incredible that in just a few years, the appeal has spread to women and other gendered people as well. Inclusivity and diversity in gaming have been on the rise.
Dungeons & Dragons trends
There is a lot to look forward to soon of gaming. For example, plenty of people enjoy watching others play without taking part themselves or can play their games remotely. However you want to enjoy your DnD, there are numerous options available.
4.3 billion minutes of DnD content has been watched on Twitch.
- Critical Role, a live-play DnD show that began in 2016, set the record for fastest-funded Kickstarter in 2019, raking in over $11 million during their campaign to fund a TV show based on their Dungeons & Dragons game.
- Other shows like High Rollers and Relics and Rarities have featured famous voice actors and screen actors.
Whether it’s because they can’t find any of their friends to play with or that they’d rather watch others, there are plenty of folks who prefer to watch. Luckily for them, there are plenty of live-play shows to watch or listen to when they need to scratch that itch.
And speaking of Critical Role…
Critical Role generated nearly $10 million on Twitch over the past two years.
(Source: Twitch Leaked Revenue)
- They have 946,000 Twitch followers and nearly 30 million views.
- Critical Role has streamed 1,449 hours of content.
- They have an average of 53,000 viewers per stream.
- Each stream lasts for approximately 4 hours.
Undoubtedly one of the most popular live-play DnD shows available to watch, Critical Role has been extremely successful since becoming their own company in 2018. The cast is made entirely of famous voice actors, and the show has a high production value, something that most people could never even dream of.
Over 70,000 people played DnD remotely using Roll20 in 2018.
(Source: The ORR Group)
While the numbers aren’t out yet for the pandemic or for other websites, it’s safe to say that the number rose dramatically when people didn’t have the option to go to their friends’ houses. Roll20 and DnDBeyond are two of the most popular apps to track character sheets and other information, but they certainly aren’t the only ones available.
Paramount and Entertainment One, Hasbro’s subsidiary, invested $150 million into Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
- The companies expected a $60 million opening worldwide… it only made $15.3 million.
- It earned $40 million domestically and in Canada, and another $33 million around the rest of the world for a total of $73 million.
The outcome highlights the risk inherent in large investments in the entertainment industry, as even well-established brands like Dungeons & Dragons can fail to deliver the anticipated returns even with favorable reviews.
To sum up
Over the past 47 years, Wizards of the Coast has popularized the idea of a table-top game where players must roll the dice to attack monsters and complete tasks. Their most recent edition, fifth, has been the most well-received so far. With so many new players joining during the COVID-19 pandemic, the high-profile celebrities playing it, and the company’s steps towards inclusivity, the game is undoubtedly skyrocketing in the public consciousness.
Oh, the places they will go!
I don’t know. The actual people sitting at D&D tables at GenCon this year looked pretty male and pretty gray. That may say more about Con attendance, but I wonder when WOTC is getting their statistics.
Wizards of the Coast conducts yearly surveys to gather data on the DnD community and the game’s player base. By gathering this data, WOTC can better understand the needs and desires of their player base, and work towards creating a more diverse and inclusive community. It’s encouraging to see Wizards of the Coast taking these steps to better understand and serve the community, and we look forward to seeing the positive changes that will result from these efforts.
It’s important to remember that diversity and representation in the DnD community and at events like GenCon are ongoing conversations that require ongoing effort and attention. While it’s true that the attendees at this year’s GenCon may have appeared predominantly male and older, it’s important to recognize that there is a growing community of diverse DnD players and fans. Wizards of the Coast and the DnD community at large are actively working to make the game and the community more inclusive and welcoming to all players, regardless of gender, age, or background. While there is still progress to be made, it’s heartening to see so many players and fans coming together to celebrate their love of the game and support one another.