Boycott of Harry Potter video game backfires as sales surge

By: Ryan Schork

Image: Portkey Games

The online boycott of the highly anticipated video game, Hogwarts: Legacy, seems to have backfired as it reaches the pinnacle of purchased charts. Even more impressive, the game hasn’t even been released to players yet. Hogwarts: Legacy is set to release on Feb. 10, 2023, yet players have pre-purchased the game at such a high volume that it is currently the number-one-selling game.

Hogwarts: Legacy, a game based around the world of Harry Potter, came under fire recently because of insensitive tweets by the author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter is the most successful book series of all time, with over 500 million copies sold. Furthermore, Rowling is the first author in history to become a billionaire, according to Guinness World Records.  

Rowling has a history of controversy, mainly on Twitter, due to her tweets and overall views of the transgender movement. Rowling has been labeled as a “TERF” which stands for a trans-exclusionary radical feminist. The Hogwarts: Legacy website claims that Rowling was not involved in the game’s production. However, fans are still calling for the boycott as she is sure to gain financially from its success.

After a litany of tweets from Rowling, fans rushed to Twitter to voice their anger with the author and called for a complete boycott of the game. Furthermore, many fans reached out to popular Twitch streamers, asking them to not play or broadcast the gameplay to their fans out of respect for the transgender community. Many Twitch streamers have also taken to Twitter, calling for fellow streamers to also boycott the game. However, this reaction has not been held by most, as the loss of exposure and revenue would be detrimental to their careers.  

However, nothing is as it seems on the internet. The boycott seems to have backfired as sales started to skyrocket after the news broke about said boycott. Currently, Hogwarts Legacy is at the top spot of purchased games on Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation. Whether the spike in sales is genuine backlash from players due to the boycott, or if it is simply because the game is highly anticipated is unclear. Some fans of the series have developed a conspiracy theory that the whole fiasco was a marketing ploy, though this is only speculation.

As the release date for Hogwarts: Legacy approaches, fans are divided on the ethics of buying and playing the game. For longtime fans of the Harry Potter series, the game seems like a dream come true that has now become a nightmare of controversy. While covered in drama and controversy, Hogwarts: Legacy will be played by millions of people around the world.

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