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Friday, 31 August 2018

Big Study Proves Most Viewers of Youtube D&D Shows Treat it as a SHOW

So over on this blog, a dude did something very interesting. He did a survey of nearly 2700 people who watch D&D livestreams, in the style of Critical Role and such.  And the results were very interesting, and confirm what I've been saying for some time.

The study covers a number of different points, but the essence of what has to do with vindicating my arguments is this: over 83% of the people who answered the survey said that the main reason they watch the show is because they like the cast members (that is to say, the ACTORS who perform on the show).

They're watching these shows as a Soap Opera or TV Drama, not as a game in action. And the reaction I talked about in the video I linked above, to when the RULES caused a character to die created a backlash, is evidence of that.  There are certainly people who play D&D who also watch these livestreams, and people who didn't play D&D that started playing it because of these livestreams, but a very significant number of viewers do NOT watch these livestreams to see D&D being played. They watch them the way other people would watch a drama on the CW or a Reality Show on Fox.

Other important points:

Note how the vast majority of viewers don't give a crap about die rolls.

See that virtually NONE of the viewers (0.4%) want to see actual published adventures being played. And 40% are fine with the stuff being done on the show being stuff that will never be published.

So yeah, the data is backing what I'd already surmised months back.

And again, it's fine that there's a whole new hobby of watching people do D&D-based Improv Theater. But those people have nothing to do with the D&D Hobby I'm a part of.


Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Quiete + Gawith's Commonwealth


  1. I think "actual published adventures" are pretty orthogonal to whether it's an RPG or a show. I like to use them but I don't think that makes my D&D 'more real'.

    1. No, correct, but you'd think that if these were people looking to play D&D themselves, they'd be interested in seeing published adventures being played. Either because they're would-be DMs trying to see how an adventure does in actual play, just opportunists looking for spoilers, or people who already ran it looking to see how the tv-group does.

      The notion that "I don't give a crap about it being published material" strikes me as likely meaning, in the case of most of those responses, "...because I don't play D&D myself and have no intention of ever playing it".

    2. I get your point, you may well be right that most viewers don't want to actually play. OTOH if they did want to play "what Critical Role did" they would most likely be looking for a very linear experience that replicated the show contents, which I think would be bad for gaming and bad for the shows. If the shows' contents are non-replicable because they are actual D&D (etc) games where the player decisions affect what happens then that is a good thing and better inspiration for the minority(?) of viewers who see the shows and want to do that.

  2. I know of some people who started playing D&D because of watching Critical Role. I also know from a longtime RPG buddy who has played with them that their game sucks. Whether there's a causal relationship there I'm not sure, the charitable part of me thinks their sucky game might just be inexperience.

    I've never seen Critical Role and I don't intend to. It strikes me as basically being akin to porn - a deliberately unrealistic portrayal of something that's a lot more fun to actually do yourself.

    1. Imagine someone who had never been in a bar their entire life, but had watched every single episode of "cheers" ever. Then they go into a bar thinking that's what it's like, and that's how they're supposed to act, and the bartenders and other customers are supposed to act like that too for real.

      That's what these people are like when they come straight from a fictional drama/comedy improv show like Critical Role, to attempt to play actual D&D.