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D&D Tops The 2023 Sales Charts, Despite 30% Decline

3 Minute Read
Mar 29 2024

2023 was a tough year for RPGs, but they managed to come out on top, with D&D still leading the pack by a mile.

Words like “eked out” and “tough win” or “tough year” litter ICv2’s latest report on sales across the tabletop industry. The report highlights a decline in the growth compared to the circumstantial high of 2020-2022’s Covid-boosted sales.

But the idea that some growth can just be temporary, continues to be a lesson that industries never actually learn, leading to this cycle of bubble and burst. Infinite growth isn’t actually achievable or sustainable. But it’s something we all have to strive for.

That increase matters, especially for the non-D&D players in the industry who don’t have the backing of a billion-dollar corporation. Costs are on the rise everywhere, thanks to rampant greedflation, and corporations are going to be corporations no matter what industry you’re in. But even the TTRPG industry faces the same looming horizon we all do.

RPGs and “Hobby Games” Still Growing

Still, according to ICv2, the US and Canadian markets saw a 1% increase, though again, that’s less than the inflation rate. Worth pointing out is that ICv2 looks at sales from the specialist game and card stores, doesn’t count Amazon or direct website sales, and does look at Kickstarter.

We estimate hobby game sales in the U.S. and Canada at around $2.885 billion for 2023, up around 1% from sales in 2022. While the nominal increase was less than the rate of inflation, holding at the previous year’s sales levels was an impressive performance for a market that had gone up a total of over 70% in the previous three years. The feat was accomplished despite declines in three of five hobby game categories.


The five categories of hobby games are Collectible Games, Miniatures, Card and Dice Games, Board Games, and RPGs. Of those, only collectible games and miniatures were up, while RPGs generally saw a decline. Worth noting are the big one-time events that had an impact on sales, like the Lord of the Rings Magic set or the launch of Baldur’s Gate 3.

Shifts in player behaviors are fueling the decline. Despite the insistence that D&D 2024 isn’t a new edition, it’s still having all the impact an impending new edition will have. It’s hard to buy into a game when you know a new book that will change things, even a little, is coming out.

Meanwhile, players migrate to other systems, though overall, that’s a smaller impact than you might think. Still, a look at the top five RPGs shows that D&D remains at the top of the charts. Following distantly are Pathfinder, Cyberpunk RED, World of Darkness, and Starfinder.


Who knows what effect the new edition/not edition will have on the RPG industry in the future, but hopefully, it’ll provide a boost overall as the industry (and society as a whole) grapples with post-lockdown stagnation and the need for something to give. Because something has to.

Author: J.R. Zambrano
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