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Is there any (semi) hard data on average gaming time and session frequency?

How often does an average party play and how long does an average session of theirs last?

Has anyone surveyed this yet (with publicly available results)?

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According to market research by Wizards of the Coast, taken in 1999:

7.2% of D&D players play monthly. (The report doesn't say whether this includes weekly.) Only 4.9% of new gamers who have played for under a year play monthly. 13.2% of players who have played for 1-5 years play monthly, and only 5.9% of those who played D&D for over five years played monthly. One hypothesis is that people often get into the game as teenagers, but have less time to play as they get older.

28% of D&D players play for more than five hours in a typical session. Among players who have played for a year or less, that number drops to 10%. Among who have played for 1-5 years, 14% play for longer than 5 hours. For people who have played for over five years, 42% play for more than five hours, but they tend to play less frequently.

These figures are from 1999, so it's mainly talking about AD&D and earlier.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I can't tell if those percentages are of all gamers (cards, computers, puzzles, board games etc) or a percentage of those who responded to playing RPGs \$\endgroup\$ – GMNoob Aug 30 '11 at 10:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that the WotC market research is both old and potentially flawed, but it's also true that we really don't have anything better :( \$\endgroup\$ – Garrett Rooney Feb 13 '17 at 4:08
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In December, 2016, Mike Shea compiled the results of a survey of 6,600 Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters. The survey inquired about a variety of subjects, including frequency of play and session duration.

Frequency of Play

  • More than twice a week = 1.9%
  • Twice a week = 6.2%
  • Weekly = 43.2%
  • Twice a month = 25.9%
  • Monthly = 13.3%
  • Less than monthly = 9.6%

Session Duration

  • About an hour = 0.5%
  • About two hours = 5.0%
  • About three hours = 28.4%
  • About four hours = 43.9%
  • About six hours = 16.7%
  • About eight hours = 3.7%
  • Longer than eight hours = 1.7%

Note that these survey results are focused on Dungeons & Dragons, and the usual caveats about selection bias apply. The survey is a treasure-trove of information though, and Shea has taken great pains to make all the underlying data accessible.

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