It is a common story. A group of people would like to role-play, only there's no one to actually run the game. After some discussion, an agreement is made by everyone who isn't Jeremy: Jeremy is going to be the DM. Jeremy protests, but it's no use. The matter is decided. Jeremy will run the game.
We spoke to at least two dozen people with this story, people who felt inadequate to the task, people who would rather just play, people who were trying and doing their best and well aware that they were failing. I would try to be as encouraging as possible. "If you're feeling less than up to it," I'd say, "imagine the inadequacy the rest of your party feels. They're not even strong enough to try!" But while this was meant to be encouraging, these are people past encouragement. They just do not want to run.
At least half of them will run a module or two out of guilt before quitting, whereupon none of the people may ever play D&D again. Many of the remainder will build up a stock of resentment, turning that into a vindictive campaign that will degrade into a revolving door of character death, or player-vs-player conflicts that will serve the DM's subconscious desire for revenge (pvp is really just a form of gladiators playing their roles for the emperor's pleasure). Some of those DMs, over a period of years, will become right bastards, concealing their original resistance against running under layer after layer of spiteful lacquer. Revenge against the player becomes their own single ambition.
Only a very, very few will develop an aptitude for it and an inclination to grow positively.
How did we get into this mess?
I learned to run the game through watching others, during a time when many people wanted to give the prospect of DMing a go. The initial game was very simple - roll characters, explore dungeons, roll to hit, roll damage, haul away the loot. AD&D only marginally changed the basic principles of doing those things, so that the majority of participants shared a common experience that could be shared, explained and consulted. The answers that would come back were, for the most part, universal, for suggestions that were made or cautions that were given reflected issues or problems that everyone who had run the game had encountered. There were none of the dialogues that would later befuddle or bog down the basic process of learning - for someone just starting out, things like railroad-vs-sandbox or narration-vs-simulation, have very little meaning. They're concerned with finding rules, making good calls, enabling the participants to enjoy themselves and not fucking up.
The new DM has been repeatedly made the victim these past forty years. Endless rule changes have shattered any supervisory potential the community may have had. A new DM can expect nothing but endless conflicting arguments weighted by uber-nuanced advice that speaks more about the teacher than the student. Rather than teach, long time participants are anxious to grind their axes, leaving those on the outside feeling overwhelmed and under-supported.
The result is that no one who is 'volun-told' to DM sees any benefit in it. All they see is work, effort, an expectation of being judged, a certainty of failure and a constant desire to shove the whole problem onto someone else's shoulders. In the meantime they're sour, unhappy or lethargic - except for the real pricks, who see the dearth of DMs as a great banquet for their sadistic or self-gratification masturbation rituals.
I don't think the game is going away; I don't consider role-play as something sliding into oblivion. I do, however, see that there's a problem between those fearful to DM and those players who haven't the responsibility to step up and take their turn. I say that because, while we met people at the Expo who expressed discontent as being forced to run, we met more who saw we were selling a book on How to Run and responded, "We ought to buy this for Jeremy - he's a total shit at DMing."
In fact, some people did.
This is a problem. At the ground level. A problem no one seems to care about. A problem that is exascerbated by yet another system that does less and less for the general welfare. I can say without doubt that the return to 'old D&D' isn't about simplicity, it is about commonality. The need to find a game that nearly everyone understands, even if they don't play it or they consider it beneath them.
If you're a new DM and you're reading this, I offer this advice. Don't buy 5e. Don't buy 4e, 3e or 2e. Find the oldest, most universal system you can find and begin there. You may feel like you're a bit of a throwback, but as you venture your way through the rule-books, you'll find yourself with no end of people who will be able to give you advice. For while these toffs may preen themselves on their brand new systems they can't explain in 10,000 words or less, they can - most of them - remember how the original game works. And they can help you master it.
Perhaps, by chance, you'll find it isn't beyond your ken after all.