Despite boycotts, Hogwarts Legacy broke sales records – but the backlash wasn’t in vain
Hogwarts Legacy sold 12 million copies in its first two weeks
The tumultuous development journey of Hogwarts Legacy and the controversies that plagued it had most people braced for disaster to strike without mercy upon the game’s launch. From the exit of Gamergate supporting Troy Leavitt to accusations of antisemitism due to its portrayal of goblins, but no more so than the de facto links to JK Rowling – the creator of the Wizarding World whose legacy is now not only the titular castle in this game, but her ever-growing string of remarks deemed transphobic that’s tainted many former fans relationship with the world of Harry Potter and beyond. Boycotts were all over Twitter, certainly in the case of my social media feeds. Despite this, on Thursday, Warner Bros Games released the information that Hogwarts Legacy shifted 12 million units in its first two weeks, generating $850 million in revenue and becoming their biggest game debut ever, and one of the biggest launches of all time. So, what happened? Given the sales of Hogwarts Legacy, were the boycotts, protests and anti-Rowling noise all for nothing?
We have to fact it: Hogwarts Legacy has been a huge success
No matter what way you look at it, Hogwarts Legacy has been a huge hit. The developers at Avalanche say there’s no plans for DLC or a sequel yet, but with sales figures like this it clearly feels inevitable. Hogwarts Legacy has been played for 280 million hours, remarkable for a solo experience game that’s only been out a few weeks. It’s not even out on any last gen consoles yet – imagine the figures if it had been available to buy for PS4, Switch and Xbox One at launch?
Have all the boycotts been for nothing?
If you cornered 11 year old me and asked him to come up with his dream video game, it would have come out looking pretty much exactly like Hogwarts Legacy. I didn’t have an aching desire for the Victorian era of the Wizarding World, but a game which let me create a bespoke witch to my liking and have a fully explorable Hogwarts and beyond was what I always dreamed of. I never cared for Lego, but I loved the Lego Harry Potter games because they gave us a good experience of doing just that, albeit in a silly Lego way.
I’m saying this because this is the kind of game that I should have been losing my shit over, but it’s a game that despite its sales and record breaking will always have the shadow of the opinions of its IP creator hanging over it. Try as I might, I just cannot enjoy the Wizarding World without thinking of the opinions of the trans people in my life I value more than a game.
Perhaps it’s just an echo chamber, but on my social media feeds if you tweeted that you were playing Hogwarts Legacy I’d buckle up for a bit of a pasting. I don’t own the game, and haven’t played it. I’ve kept up to date with goings on and how tos and reviews on YouTube from a journalistic perspective, but haven’t had a hands on. Nor will I.
No matter the sales that Hogwarts Legacy has generated, the cloud of its creator and the controversy it’s associated with will not fade away even if boycotts have felt futile in some circles. Voices have been heard, and that’s paramount in accepting that it was not all for nothing.
Hogwarts Legacy has been controversial and has garnered criticism regarding transphobic remarks from franchise creator JK Rowling since 2020. Avalanche, the developers of the game, have said she is not involved at all – but it is likely since she owns the IP rights to the franchise that she will profit from the sales.
To learn more about transgender rights or lend your support, please check out the charity Mermaids in the UK.
Related stories recommended by this writer:
• Hogwarts Legacy players have found a hidden tribute to Hagrid actor Robbie Coltrane
• A ranked guide to which Hogwarts Legacy house is best, based on vibes alone
• Hogwarts Legacy doesn’t have a Photo Mode, but one player has found a sneaky hack