In less than two weeks, the call for a boycott against the popular new video game, Hogwarts Legacy, has failed. The game has already earned a similar amount to the entirety of the theatrical run of the blockbuster hit Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and is currently on the brink of outselling Elden Ring. Launch sales so far are bigger than every Call of Duty game over the last 6 years. Let that sink in.
Instead of easing off or toning things down when it comes to Harry Potter, Warner Bros. is planning on ramping things up.
The new entry into the Wizarding World has already broken records. Warner Bros. Games reports that two weeks after its release, the game had 12 million units, raking in nearly $900 million in sales. Not only was this the biggest release for Warner Bros. Games, but things haven’t stopped either. Variety reports that Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels hinted at the future of the Wizarding World.
“Take ‘Harry Potter’ as an example, the Wizarding World, the fact that we are enjoying this massive success with the ‘Hogwarts Legacy’ launch, 12 years after the last film came out, shows that there is so much opportunity and we’re only just starting to expand that…”
The initial calls for a boycott of the game stem from controversial remarks on transgender issues by none other than J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, leading to concerns that the game would not align with “inclusive” values. However, the boycott was a total failure. Even after early controversy, the game’s developer, Avalanche Software, distanced themselves a bit from Rowling by adding a transgender character to the game. That still didn’t suppress the game’s record breaking launch.
if my friends want to buy the game, go to harry world, and read harry books, go for it! love your life! a bunch of others just won’t allow you into their spaces! cope! but actually harassing and promoting transphobia, UNRELATED to the game? delete your account
— saira ✵ (@reonerra) February 10, 2023
There may be many possible reasons for the boycott’s failure include the massive popularity of the Harry Potter franchise, with a loyal fanbase that has been eagerly anticipating the release of “Hogwarts Legacy.” The timing of the boycott, which was suggested almost a year ago when the game was first announced, was still too late to significantly impact the game’s sales. Additionally, the boycott did not receive widespread mainstream coverage, except on virtue signaling activist websites and toxic sewers like Reddit, which limited its impact on the broader public. On the other hand, it could be that both the activists and their media allies, have been overestimating how much the average gamer cares about transgender concerns. This is in addition to them underestimating how many normies are fully embedded in the Harry Potter franchise.
Spiked-Online found several virtue signalers that tried very hard to get traction for the boycott.
According to one trans YouTuber and gaming writer, ‘any support of something like Hogwarts Legacy is harmful’ because of its connection to Rowling. Gaming streamer Will Overgard (whose pronouns are listed as ‘he / him’) has warned fans that: ‘By supporting this title you are essentially aligning yourself with some really heinous transphobic values.’ ‘Please do not stream it; don’t make YouTube videos about it; don’t buy it and don’t bloody pre-order it’, he recently urged his Twitter followers.
ResetEra, a gaming forum, has banned all discussion of Hogwarts Legacy, while accusing Rowling of being ‘transphobic’.
Meanwhile, some of the voice actors involved in the game have been hounded on social media, leading them to publicly distance themselves from Rowling’s views. Last month, actor Sebastian Croft felt the need to declare that ‘transwomen are women’, seemingly in order to placate the angry mob.
For those working in the gaming industry, declaring your support for Hogwarts Legacy can be a dangerous act. Kara Lynne, a community manager at a US videogame publisher, was fired after she tweeted her excitement at seeing some early release footage.
I was cast in this project over 3 years ago, back when all Harry Potter was to me, was the magical world I grew up with. This was long before I was aware of JK Rowling’s views.
I believe whole heartedly that trans women are women and trans men are men. https://t.co/QTAMClZDda
— Sebastian Croft (@SebastianCroft) January 14, 2023
Rowling’s comments will likely continue to be a point of contention for those who demand more inclusivity and diversity in entertainment and media, but clearly they’ve had no impact on those that like to play videogames, and when your videogame earns more money than this year’s blockbusters, it’s likely to guide the way you run your business. Nonetheless, the cope is still strong with the activists and allies.
Meanwhile, other luminaries in the writing world have come out in strong defense of Rowling, most recently a fiery defense by none other than The Color Purple author Alice Walker, so this culture war is far from over.