Dungeons & Dragons is experiencing a major youth movement right now, with 40% of players being 25 years or younger. Earlier this month, Wizards of the Coast released several statistics about the Dungeons & Dragons playerbase, revealing that its core player group was much younger than expected. According to the demographics released by Wizards of the Coast to European retailers last week, 40% of players are 25 years or younger. By comparison, only 11% of players are 40 years or older. Unsurprisingly, the game has experienced massive growth over the last few years, with an estimated 40 million players, 39% identify as female.
While Dungeons & Dragons has always been marketed to kids and young adults, it's a bit of a surprise to see such a large percentage of the active player base skew so young. Considering that, up until recently, Dungeons & Dragons was associated with an aging, male fanbase, it's great to see hard statistics supporting a much younger Dungeons & Dragons crowd. Of course, tons of D&D shows aired online also support how diverse in age and gender D&D fans are, but even shows like Critical Role have players that fall (according to Wizards of the Coast) in the oldest quartile of D&D players.
Wizards of the Coast also noted that sales of their introductory Boxed Sets (which can be found in mainstream retail stores like Target and Wal-Mart) have grown by 300% year over year, and that over 4.3 billion minutes of D&D content has been viewed on Twitch. Viewership of D&D programs has also increased by 65% on YouTube compared to previous years.
Dungeons & Dragons' younger demographic likely also explains the game's recent emphasis on new campaign settings like Wildemount, Ravnica, and Theros instead of older settings like Greyhawk or Dragonlance. Although older fans have long wanted a return to some of these older settings, over a quarter of the fanbase wasn't even born when Dungeons & Dragons released Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, the last D&D adventure to be "officially" set in the world of Greyhawk. Although last year's Ghosts of Saltmarsh contained several references to Greyhawk, Wizards of the Coast stressed that it was intended to be "setting-agnostic" and not tied to any one setting.