The growth of streaming Dungeons & Dragons sessions is having a big impact on the game, bringing large numbers of players into tabletop play, according to Verve.  D&D Senior Director Nathan Stewart told the publication that over half of the new people that started playing D&D 5E watched online play first. 

The scale of views is enough to drive big sales.  The first (three-hour) episode of Critical Role, one of the most popular online shows in which people play D&D, has been viewed nearly 5.8 million times, dwarfing the 2.8 million times the first episode (Small World) of Tabletop, which features board games, has been viewed.  Both are produced by Geek & Sundry. 

In addition to Critical Role, other popular shows include Force Grey, which features TV and film actors including Brian Posehn, Deborah Ann Woll, and Joe Manganiello, and is shot with a live audience (present either physically or virtually); and HarmonQuest, created by Dan Harmon (Rick and Morty) and gamemaster Spencer Crittenden, which is shot in front of a studio audience and for which animations are created around the play each week. 

Wizards of the Coast, which has been investing in streaming play of its games for some time (see “New Streaming Plans for WotC Games”) is happy with the results and doubling down. The official D&D Twitch channel has over 50 weekly hours of liveplay programming produced or sponsored by the company, according to the report.