CNBC reports Dungeons and Dragons “has found something its early fans never expected: Popularity.”
The days of hiding away in a basement rolling dice and playing “Dungeons and Dragons” in darkness is over. More than 40 years after the first edition of “Dungeons and Dragons” hit shelves, video platforms Twitch and YouTube are leading a renaissance of the fantasy roleplaying board game — and business is booming. “DnD has been around for 45 years and it is more popular now than it has ever been,” said Greg Tito, senior communications manager, at Wizards of the Coast. In each of the last five years, sales of “Dungeons and Dragons” merchandise has grown by double digits. The company, owned by toymaker Hasbro, attributes this massive sales boom to the launch of the fifth edition of the game in 2014 and to “Critical Role,” a weekly show on live streaming video platform Twitch that features voice actors from TV shows and video games playing “Dungeons and Dragons….” “When a new edition for a game like this releases, there is that flurry of activity, people get really excited about it and then, historically, that excitement has waned,” he said. “The fifth edition has completely blown that model out of the water. With the release in 2014, it has grown and only continued to grow. Every kind of statistical model we’ve been able to to use from the history of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ has been broken at this point. So, we are in uncharted territory….” “Critical Role” has become so popular that when it launched a Kickstarter last week to create an animated special based on the characters from the first campaign, it was funded within one hour. The team behind the web series had wanted $750,000 to fund the endeavor. With 33 days remaining in the crowdfunding campaign, “Critical Role” has raised more than $7.3 million from 53,000 backers. It is now the most-funded film/video project in Kickstarter history. Over the years Dungeons & Dragons — and the people who played it — have usually been played for laughs in TV sitcoms like Freaks and Geeks, several episodes of Community, and an episode of Big Bang Theory with William Shatner, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Smith, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
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