Wednesday, September 9, 2009

D&D is Dead! (someone should let all those players know)


By now you have no doubt heard of Gamer's Closet's post on whether or not D&D is dead. While I have my suspicions that the blog's author is simply trying to "stir the pot", as they say, it did get me thinking, how many people still play this game?

Well, good luck finding that out.

According to wikipedia, some 20 million people have played D&D at some point, and about 6 million were still playing in 2007. Depending on who you listen to from WotC, they have anywhere from two to four million active customers supporting the current edition, and are on the fourth printing of the core Player's Handbook of the current edition.

The recent release of Pathfinder sold out its first print, though they're not saying how many books that was, exactly (I'm guessing 10k or 20k?). The most recent issue of Dragon magazine I could find in my vault (from shortly before its demise a year or two ago) had circulation info listing about 33,000 issues between subscribers, store copies, and archival copies (unless I'm reading it wrong). The most recent estimate I could find on WotC's online version of the magazine is 8000 confirmed subscribers (representing probably 25% of the total number).

D&D Online, the (laughable, imo) MMO version of D&D, claimed about 100k subscribers at its height, and has fallen to 30k or so in the last several months, which has prompted the service to go to free membership. The RPGA doesn't list any numbers I can find, so its obviously a number they aren't bragging about.

There are currently 307 Dungeons and Dragons Meetup Groups around the world, with 30,153 registered members, 24,957 interested in being members, in 257 cities, in 13 countries. Compare this to two other notable, popular hobbies, Photography and Scrapbooking, and D&D rates favorably among them in popularity, with, I imagine, a similar ratio of Meetup hobbyists to Total hobbyists. Meetup boards, in case you don't know, are used to organize actual face-to-face play, as opposed to online gaming. My local chapter has 146 players (predominantly 4E, btw), with nearby chapters in Rochester (100) , Toronto (256), and Toronto burbs(324).

So, what's the prognosis, Dr. BtBG?

Not dead yet!

5 comments:

  1. Some pots were stirred. I wonder how "valuable" the stats are, why would WOTC keep that info so close to the chest?

    D&D is as popular as scrapbooking?! Perhaps we could organize combination scrapbooking/D&D nights. You drink some wine, talk about your feelings, play some D&D, then scrapbook your character. Now that sounds like fun!

    Hmmm, would it work in combination with needlepoint?

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  2. Paladin, I'd like some doilies with the city of Greyhawk coat of arms, if you're gonna be doing any embroidery.

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  3. What? You don't talk about your feelings at the game table?

    Quiltmaking would be lovely, by the way.

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  4. Interesting information, by the way. Not conclusive, but certainly suggestive.

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  5. I think D&D player / craft hobbyists would be more likely to be sitting there knitting chainmail. Or hot-wire sculpting styrofoam into wargaming terrain.

    Oh god please no I don't have the time for all that or the space to store it anymore!

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