According to virtual tabletop web app Roll20, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Popularity Seems To Be Plateauing

Virtual table-top web app Roll20 has revealed its fourth-quarter 2019 stats and Dungeons & Dragons 5E has finally shown signs that it’s reaching its peak. The report which is prepared by investment firm The Orr Group shows a 4.33% drop in D&D campaigns on Roll20 compared to a high point in the second quarter. This is actually a slight improvement from the third quarter of 2019 when the drop was 6.87%.

Since the Orr report tracks percentages of accounts and campaigns and doesn’t surface total numbers of those two factors so there could be a few causes of this drop in D&D 5E’s share of Roll20. One explanation is that D&D 5E is beginning to plateau in popularity after almost six years on the market and players on Roll20 are closing their D&D campaigns and moving on to other systems.

Another explanation is that a majority of new Roll20 accounts are being created to play systems other than D&D. The 916.13% increase of Ironsworn RPG accounts along with the 631.25% increase for the Basic Role-Playing system show in the Orr report supports this particular theory. Even taking into account the fact that Ironsworn is a fairly new system which would mean that 916.13% doesn’t necessarily translate to thousands of new accounts, the drop for D&D is less than 5% so small individual changes compounding could account for the drop-off.

Another surprise from the report was that Pathfinder Second Edition only accounts for 1.15% of Roll20 accounts. Granted, the game has only been out for six months at this point, but the original Pathfinder was immensely popular for an RPG that isn’t D&D so 1.13% is almost shocking. The same report shows original Pathfinder at 4.95% so it’s possible that Pathfinder players simply prefer a different virtual tabletop to Roll20.

In spite of the drop in the percent of campaigns on the platform, D&D 5E is still the most popular system on Roll20. The second most popular system is all the editions of Call of Cthulhu at 15.35% compared to D&D’s 47.54%. The next closest system is all the Uncategorized systems on the platform at 14.17% and the aforementioned original Pathfinder at 4.97%.