The term D&D playspace, or D&D digital playspace, was introduced by Wizards of the Coast and the One D&D reveal.
A D&D playspace is a digital recreation of a tabletop which shows models, maps, scenery and dice so that tabletop games can be played online.
The term virtual tabletop is not used in One D&D’s introduction. Wizards of the Coast reveal that D&D Beyond will be one of the three pillars of One D&D, the RPG’s next and perhaps last edition and that it will introduce playspaces.
Rather than use virtual tabletop, a term which D&D players might relate to Roll20, Foundry VTT or others, the Wizards of the Coast team talk about players having to mash a bunch of digital tools together.
One D&D, through D&D Beyond, will be different. Wizards of the Coast plan to sell digital and physical bundles of books so that you can use the digital playspaces even if you take home a hardback after one shopping trip.
D&D Beyond will use the Epic-owned Unreal Engine for their digital playspace. Mainstream computer game platforms have been used for digital toolkits for RPGs before. Unity was used for virtual tabletops before, and back in 2019, one of the first VTTs, Fantasy Ground, shifted over to Unity. It’s a popular engine for developers and powers games like Pathfinder Kingmaker and Pokemon Go.
Unreal Engine’s owners, Epic, are co-owned by the Chinese company Tencent.
However, the world reveal marks the start of the journey. It might be that WotC is trying to avoid fighting in the virtual tabletop marketing space, which is fierce and entrenched and is coining its own phrase. In due course, D&D officials might adopt the words ‘virtual tabletop’ instead of playspace.
Correction: 24th August: This article incorrectly said the D&D Beyond Playspace would use Unity. WotC said Unreal Engine.
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