Despite being banned from a subreddit and false Steam user-tags submitted in protest, Hogwarts Legacy has become one of Steam’s top sellers.
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Multiple attempts at a boycott had been attempted, centered around Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s comments on sex being real and denial of the female identity being taken as transphobic. The goblins were also compared to Jewish stereotype, as previously had celebrities Sarah Silverman and Jon Stweart; the latter of whom later denied making such comparison.
Further, some took issue with Hogwarts Legacy‘s plot involving the player preventing a goblin uprising, characterized as quashing a rebellion for equal rights. This is despite the radical Goblin faction consorting with dark wizards, relying on murder and chaos, prior franchise lore showing neither goblins or wizards as faultless, and having always condemned bigotry and supremacism.
One of the latest attempts was the /rGamingcirclejerk subreddit banning any praise or support of Rowling’s work. The subreddit touts itself as a place to discuss “the ridiculousness in circlejerks” within gaming, and seemingly mocks the gaming community at large.
Such threads include mocking those critical of Netflix’ The Witcher casting, Bungie supporting abortion, and claiming gamers sided with Blizzard Entertainment over the Hearthstone Free Hong Kong controversy.
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Even their “SJW Watch” — which claims that “Games that toe Progressivism or Identity politics, pander to that ideology, or has an “SJW” attitude with gamers” should be avoided “at all cost” — mocks the idea of outrage towards such groups, as popular games including Donkey Kong, Resident Evil, and Fallout are listed with strained claims dripping with sarcasm over why the titles are “woke.”
Moderator GrizzlyPeak72 told users in December 2022 “A friendly reminder from your modteam that this woman is a TERF and anyone who pledges to support her monetarily is also a transphobe.”
Later GrizzlyPeak72 went on an over 400 word rant, boasting they “had to ban a lot of salty a— Harry Potter fans.”
In summation, the moderator claimed anyone “giving money” to Rowling was “probably transphobic,” and that buying Hogwarts Legacy “has become a political statement whether you like it or not.” They also denounced those who still wanted to buy the game, but had denounced Rowling. “You’re terrible people and it’s why we’re banning you.”
As users objected, this seemingly got them banned. “By all means keep continuing to take the bait, we’ll be sure to ban you,” GrizzlyPeak72 goaded, also claiming they and other moderators had received death threats. They closed off with “Praise Marx.”
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While the subreddit only has 611,000 members (r/gaming has 35.8 million at this time of writing for comparison), the ban still attracted reports from gaming news outlets such as Dexerto and XFire, magnifying the controversy.
Another possible boycott may have been attempted via abusing Steam’s user-tags feature. As seen via SteamDB and Wayback Machine archives of the Steam page, some had submitted “Villain Protagonist” and “Capitalism” as tags, along with “NSFW”, “Hentai”, “Nudity”, “Sexual Content,” and “LGBTQ+.” All such tags have been removed, however.
Regardless of raging subreddits, protesting user-tags, and media reporting, it seems to have had little effect. VGC reports Hogwarts Legacy reached fifth on Steam’s top-sellers list, despite pre-orders only being available ahead of the February 10th release.
While sixth at this time of writing, this still places the game ahead of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (launched October last year), Grand Theft Auto V (2015), and even Elden Ring (February 2022). Keep in mind this is not life-time sales on Steam, but this week. Nonetheless, Hogwarts Legacy has been in the top 100 best sellers for six weeks, and has catapulted 21 places up the charts since the prior week.
It seems that the negative press may have even helped Hogwarts Legacy‘s sales and awareness. Rowling herself even admitted that her book sales had increased after talking about being cancelled.
What will sales be like on launch, and after reviews from critics and users? Has the game truly become “a political statement,” or has it shaken off what others have tried to kick up?
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