While many parts of the economy were challenged by the pandemic, a few flourished. The islolation and social distancing proved to be a boon for virtual tabletops. While many Dungeons & Dragons groups made due with Zoom, several platforms, like Role, expanded their resources to cater to the virtual gaming market.
“Whilst platforms like Discord are a popular option for playing TTRPGs online,”said Elle Dwight, the CEO of Role, “Role’s features mean that you can set up a game in the quickest, easiest and most immersive of ways. When in the midst of a role-playing campaign, it can be immersion-breaking and slow to have to move around tabs or consult your notes. Having everything you need in one place means that you can focus on what’s important: being creative, and telling great stories.”
Virtual tabletops have come into their own over the past year. Companies like Role, Demiplane and Roll20 have made it easier for people to find groups online or stay connected over distance when players move away. These products were already on the rise but the past three years helped the concept grow much more quickly.
“Whilst we know that the pandemic did have an influence on the number of people playing tabletop RPGs online,” said Dwight, “and on the popularity of gaming in general, it was already well on its way to becoming hugely popular. The industry has grown into a $13bn market today, projected to grow to over $30bn by 2028. You can look to the popularity of shows like Critical Role & Dimension 20, some of the most popular gaming streams in the world for many years now, as another sign of this momentum. However, people being far apart from one another, and also having extra time on their hands, did mean that the pandemic was a great time to play games like these remotely, and Role provides the most immersive, easy, and seamless online TTRPG experience.”
Role recently announced an expanded partnership with game publishers to provide official tools that can be purchased to make playing their games easier online. The partnerships include companies like Modiphius and Magpie Games. Dedicated toolsets make things like rolling dice, taking notes and looking up rules much easier in an online game.
“Each game on Role comes with a comprehensive library of blank sheets, encounter sheets,” said Dwight. “NPCs and more, with each room complete with unique visual assets, themes and customised tools and mechanisms to match each title. This creates fully immersive play, bringing each game to life and enhancing the gameplay beyond the typical digital tabletop experience. Role is unique in being the easiest and most advanced way to play these games online, taking everything that is exciting about TTRPGs and bettering it with digital tools.”
More publishers realize there are customers who play primarily online. They are building digital versions of their tabletop games to sell on marketplaces like roll. The launch of the the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons featured its own online game system which is targeted to go live with the new edition.
“More games are definitely on the horizon for Role,” said Dwight, “to enable players to further take advantage of the versatility of the platform and all that it provides to the digital TTRPG experience. We also continue to empower and support indie creators, many of whom are bringing their titles online in ways no platform has provided them before. Role is proud to have the industry’s only robust code-free drag-and-drop gameplay creation tools. Through this, we aim to create a space where not only can users play any game they desire, but can also easily create their own RPG games and homebrew content. To date, there are over 5,000 unique game templates published by our community on Role. Our goal is to expand to a self-service offering on the platform in 2023, creating opportunities for everyone to be able to create, share and sell their RPGs to the Role community. With the majority of our team being LGBTQ+ and BIPOC, everything that Role stands for is about being your most authentic self; empowering creators to make and share their own worlds of self-expression is the purpose and intent of the Role platform.
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