How Many People Play D&D: The World’s Most Popular TRPG
Updated · Jun 22, 2022
Did you know that the average gamer’s age in the US is 35? We don’t blame you if you thought it would be lower—we did, too.
Do you know what else is a lot older than you might imagine? Dungeons & Dragons. The game turned 48 this year.
In fact, it’s generally considered the very first role-playing game and despite its age, the most popular one as well.
Today, we’ll talk about how many people play D&D nowadays and what makes it so popular even after all this time.
Dramatic D&D Facts (Editor’s Choice)
- More than 50 million people play Dungeons & Dragons.
- Dungeons & Dragons is most popular in Canada.
- D&D grew 65% in just one year in Europe.
- D&D fans watch 4.3 billion minutes of D&D-related media yearly.
- Dungeons & Dragons has been steadily growing since 2014.
- It’s been the leading tabletop game since it came out.
Some Basic D&D Info to Start
Knowing how perfervid most D&D fans are, there’s a good chance you know more than us. Still, we’ll try to make this exciting and look into the history of D&D as well as some other fun bits of trivia about the game.
1. Tactical Studies Rules first published the original D&D in 1974.
(Source: Dungeons & Dragons)
So, how long has Dungeons and Dragons been around? A while, actually. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson collaborated to design it in the early 70s. Though it would later become the biggest tabletop game ever, at the time, its two creators couldn’t find a publisher—so they published it themselves. That’s how TSR came to be.
Not-fun fact: The guy who made D&D, Gary Gygax, was eventually kicked out of his own company. He kept making RPGs until his death in 2008.
2. D&D has been the leading tabletop game since its release.
Roll20, the popular virtual tabletop website, released a curious industry report in 2021. It shows that Dungeons & Dragons: 5th Edition made up 53.7% of all game sessions. While not every TRPG player uses Roll20’s tools, the site does have more than 8 million users, so its data is a decent representation of the entire genre. Wizards of the Coast also confirmed that D&D has been by far the biggest tabletop title ever since its release.
Board games as a whole are growing in popularity but D&D is the franchise that dominates the field.
Fun fact: Roll20 reported a sudden 300% increase in game sessions in 2020 when the pandemic hit, and people around the world found themselves locked at home.
D&D Players in Numbers
Like it or not, most games are meant to be a social experience, and D&D is no exception. Below, we discuss how social an experience is best.
3. More than 50 million people play Dungeons & Dragons.
That’s how many people play Dungeons and Dragons!
You probably came here to learn the exact number of how many people play Dungeons and Dragons, so we won’t disappoint you. Luckily, Wizards of the Coast isn’t too secretive about that—in fact, the company released an infographic with lots of spicy data. That’s how we know that in 2020, the game boasted at least 50 million players. Better yet, the player count has been steadily going up. Not bad, considering how old D&D is.
4. The average D&D party consists of five players.
How many people can play D&D? Well, there is no limit—you could set up a game with as few as two players (or one, I guess, but you’ll need to do a lot of role-playing), or you could host a house party of 20 people and get everyone to play with you.
But for the best experience, we advise you to avoid either of those extremes and follow the recommendation of the official Dungeon Master’s Guide that 3 to 5 players is the ideal party size. We tend to invite 6, though, because there’s always that one guy who doesn’t show up.
5. D&D players watched 4.3 billion minutes of Twitch content in 2020.
(Source: M.T. Black Games)
Video game streaming is relatively straightforward these days, but a game that happens only in the imagination of players also attracts large audiences.
4.3 billion minutes in 2020 on Twitch alone is a lot of time spent watching other people play a game. If you find figures in the billions tricky to visualize, worry not—you aren’t alone. So we did the math and ended up with 71,6 million hours, which equals nearly three million days, or about 8,181 years. You’d need at least a few D&D parties (and several lifetimes) to get there by yourself.
Dungeons and Dragons Players in Words
Perhaps the most critical aspect of any tabletop game is the people you play it with. After all, the right company can truly elevate your experience and make an already enjoyable game so much better.
In light of the number of people who play Dungeons and Dragons, we thought a little bit of extra demographic information could help us really understand why the game is so popular.
6. D&D is most popular in Canada.
We admit this is based on the frequency of D&D-related search queries on Google by origin (country) and not any official information. Still, the people who look up D&D stuff on the internet are probably the ones who also play the most, so this should be reasonably accurate.
The US is number two with an almost identical score. DnD players are noticeably less numerous outside North America, but you could still find a group to play with, especially if you live in Western or Northern Europe.
And if you don’t mind playing online, geographical and time zone limits won’t carry that much weight for you as the love for the game.
7. 40% of the people playing DnD are female.
(Source: The Mary Sue)
A popular stereotype says that men tend to spend much more time on games than women do, and there’s clearly a good dose of truth to it. Still, times are changing, and it appears that women are no longer a minority.
Fun fact: In 2012, women only accounted for about 20-25% of the player base. That’s a considerable improvement in just a decade!
8. More than a third of D&D fans belong to Generation Z.
We looked up some Dungeons and Dragons demographics tidbits, and we weren’t entirely prepared for what we saw. The game has been around forever, so we assumed many fans would belong to an older generation, but we were wrong.
Turns out that ~36% of players are 24 or younger, with 12% being teens. Furthermore, only 13% of the player base is above 40 years old.
In all honesty, though, it does make sense—while it’s the oldest RPG out there, D&D hasn’t stopped evolving, with new editions, adventures, and other content released multiple times a year. In a way, it has kept pace with the times and has succeeded in attracting younger players.
9. Celebrities are into D&D, too.
This shouldn’t come as a shock considering how big of a franchise D&D is, but there are multiple famous people who play D&D, and most are pretty open about it.
Vin Diesel, for instance, was such an avid fan that he had a movie made based on his experience. Others include Joe Manganiello, who is something of a ringleader of Hollywood’s most elite Dungeons and Dragons club—and he’s personally recruited many of its members. Among them is Tom Morello, who compared a D&D session in Joe’s dungeon to “high-stakes poker.”
Either we aren’t doing it right, or Hollywood D&D is just on an entirely different level.
Some D&D players turn into celebrities, too. There’s little to no chance you haven’t heard of “Critical Role”—the web series featuring professional voice actors playing D&D. What started as a one-off game for one of the players’ birthday, turned into three campaigns, 270 episodes and going, and a total per-episode audience around 1.5 million viewers!
Fun fact: in 2019, “Critical Role” launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a 22-minute animated prequel episode. Within the hour, they reached more than a million dollars! Eventually, they managed to get $11,385,449 from 88,887 backers, which resulted in a full season of 10 episodes. Talk about a loyal and huge fan base!
Dungeons and Dragons Revenue, or How Expensive Tabletop Games Are
At the end of the day, a game is still a business, and it needs to turn a profit.
Bearing in mind how many people play D&D, you’d bet it does, right?
Still, drama embroiled TSR throughout its existence, with Wizards of the Coast eventually acquiring the company. You’ll see the numbers for yourself, but here’s the short version: the new publisher has done a great job.
10. D&D grew 65% in just one year in Europe.
North America is the homeplace of D&D, and it’s traditionally been the largest market, but Europe is a close second. Recently, D&D 5e sales there have surged dramatically—in 2019, Europeans bought 65% more content than in 2018. This also means that 2019 sales numbers were quadruple those of 2014.
11. D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast made $816 million in 2020.
How much is D&D worth exactly?
A lot. Precise figures for just the Dungeons & Dragons TRPG are hard to find, but Wizards of the Coast announced revenue of $816 million in 2020. Most of that money comes from D&D and Magic: The Gathering. While MTG is growing as well, the former is much more successful. Looking at D&D sales by year, it turns out they rose 33% in 2020 compared to 2019.
The pandemic-induced lockdowns are no doubt at least partially responsible for some of this upsurge in sales, but we have to admit D&D revenue has been going up ever since 2014 anyways.
D&D News, or How Games Evolve
Dungeons & Dragons has existed for a long time and has continuously evolved throughout its history. Now, it’s at the peak of its popularity… and we bet Wizards would like it to stay there.
It’s no wonder, then, that new content is constantly being developed.
12. In 2021, Wizards of the Coast released a D&D-themed Magic: The Gathering set.
The MTG x D&D crossover set features a whopping 281 cards themed after the Forgotten Realms D&D campaign setting—one of the oldest and most iconic ones.
To no surprise, the expansion introduces a “Venture into the Dungeon” mechanic via a special card; in a similarly inevitable fashion, you also get to fight dragons. I mean, the whole point is that it’s themed after Dungeons and Dragons, right?
13. Now, D&D tackles racism.
Wizards of the Coast has been altering material containing “racially insensitive” language for a while now.
With the release of the Rules Expansion Gift Set on January 25, 2022, the company went one step further: it introduced a slew of new D&D rules, significantly improving player customizability and bringing racial traits’ importance to a minimum so as to ensure everyone (player or monster) is mostly equal regardless of race.
In terms of actual content, a new adventure book, titled Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep, is set to come out in March this year. Fans are already speculating over what to expect, but the Wizards haven't confirmed anything officially.
There was but one question we had to answer in this article: how many people play D&D? Instead, we gave you more stats than you’d know what to do with. But hey, if you are a Dungeons & Dragons fan, then surely you get a kick out of big numbers, right?
And if you aren’t a long-time aficionado, one thing is certain—now is as good a time as any to get into the game!
Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.