Over half of Dungeons & Dragons’ new Fifth Edition players watched streamers play it first

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Number of hours spent playing D&D on Twitch has doubled every year since 2015

If you’re a fan of playing Dungeons & Dragons, there’s a pretty good chance you’re also a fan of watching other people play the RPG online.

A new report has revealed the influence of online ‘liveplaying’ shows such as Critical Role, which feature a group of players (in the case of Critical Role, professional voice actors) streaming their campaign to thousands or even millions of people, on the audience for roleplaying games.

Dungeons & Dragons’ senior director Nathan Stewart told The Verge that more than half of the players introduced to Dungeons & Dragons through 2014’s Fifth Edition watched video of the game online before they picked up the RPG.

It’s little surprise, then, that the number of unique hours of Dungeons & Dragons gameplay streamed through Twitch has doubled every year since 2015 – in line with D&D’s profits, which were bigger than ever last year and are already on track to beat that figure in 2017.

D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast is itself stepping up its streaming presence, increasing the number of shows it produces in-house or sponsors that cover the RPG from just two a year ago to a number closer to 20 today, accounting for more than 50 weekly hours of official video content.

As the Verge piece points out, D&D’s unstoppable rise comes on the back of the RPG re-entering the mainstream in a big way, partly thanks to its appearance in hugely popular Netflix show Stranger Things and in the work of Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon, who came up with the idea for the weekly animated show HarmonQuest based on his campaign.

This has led to Critical Role’s three-hour pilot episode racking up more than five million views on YouTube –  even more than the debut episode of Wil Wheaton’s TableTop, which has 2.8 million.


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